It’s been a month since Pennsylvania sports-betting was legalized, and how many active operators do we have in existence in this new market? Would you like to take a guess? The answer may surprise you: A big fat zero.
How is this possible given the rapid movement in the New Jersey Casino market nearby?
Doug Harbach spokesman for Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has confirmed that not a single application has been made within the state to date. The answer to why applications are not being made comes down to potentially low profitability, as the Pennsylvanian law requires a staggering $10 million fee on an application for PA sports-betting and the proceeds will be taxed at an equally horrific 36%, making it an unlikely pursuit for good business.
Currently, 13 sports-betting licenses are available in Pennsylvania in line with the 13 existing casinos in the state. It would seem that sports-betting licenses will not be granted to new operators under Pennsylvanian legal requirements; but more about that in a moment.
Pennsylvanian legislators had allocated a $100 million in projected revenue from the legalization of sports betting. This might have been a substantial miscalculation – and accordingly - could leave the state budget with an unattractive deficit.
Meanwhile, daily sports fantasy betting is only taxed at a rate of 15% and requires a security of $50 000 for the license application – a stark contrast which is difficult to rationally comprehend. Was there perhaps some rationale behind this decision?
If the applications for the sports betting licensed are not forthcoming from existing operators within the state, are we going to see new applications from outside the state? Difficult to know for sure, but as the local law stands at present, a category 4 slot license would be a pre-requisite prior to any application to secure a sports betting license. Whereas PA online casino licenses can be applied for by companies outside the state, the same may not apply for sports betting. This is yet to be tested.
Casinos and operators in other states are feverishly preparing for the launch of the forthcoming football season; while in Pennsylvania, nothing seems to be happening.
In summation, matters pertaining to Pennsylvania sports betting are generally unclear – and accordingly – attracting very little enthusiasm from investors both inside the state and nationally at this point.