PGCB Prepares for Possibility of Sports Betting, New Rules Revealed
It was revealed on Wednesday that Pennsylvania won’t be ready to offer sports betting by the time the 2018 football season starts, which is disappointing to many fans and bettors. However, officials have passed some new regulations and they say that they’re ready to take applications from casino operators in the state. This means that legal sports betting might be launched by the time mid-season is here and for the World Series.
To date, no casinos have agreed to the current regulations and have refused to submit applications for sportsbooks. They were waiting and hoping to see what these new rules would entail. So far, casino execs have publicly indicated they’re not pleased with the state’s extremely high 36 percent tax rate, but there have been whispers that a few of the 13 licensed casinos have said they will eventually offer sportsbooks.
On July 30, Parx Casino in Bucks County announced it has formed a partnership with a logon-based gambling firm, GAN, to run the casino’s online and on-site sportsbooks. Last week, Mount Airy Casino Resort in the Poconos announced it has bargained with The Stars Group to run its online betting platform. The Stars Group is well-known for running its Poker Stars online poker games.
The new rules will allow participating casinos a lot of leeway. Sportsbooks will be permitted to choose what events they accept wagers on from the following list:
- professional motor sports racing events
- all collegiate and professional athletic events
- International events, including those run by FIFA and the International Olympics Committee.
Other rules include:
- Casinos must make it clear to their patrons an explanation of all types of wagers allowed, and the events on which those wagers may be placed.
- Sports bettors must be able to set personal betting limits on their accounts.
- Bettors must receive statements detailing all account activity.
- Casinos are permitted to suspend betting on any event where there is unusual or suspicious betting activity detected. In these cases, the casino must also provide that information to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, other sportsbook operators in the state, and the affected leagues, all within a timely manner.
The regulations also allow for a wide range of proposition and in-game bets that may not necessarily have anything to do with the final score of the game.
Betting will be restricted to include only those 21 years of age and older, and there will be no betting allowed on high school sports. There are also bans that will prevent team personnel and athletes from betting on their own games, or any other games in the sport in which they play. To further assist the integrity of the process, the regulations ask leagues and teams to develop and present a list of people who officiate, coach, play, or otherwise influent the outcome of a game to the Control Board.
Each casino that chooses to be involved in sports betting will have to submit a catalog to the Gaming Control Board listing all of the sporting events it will take bets on, and the kinds of bets it will take. The board will have final veto power; if there is anything they aren’t happy with, the sportsbook operator will be advised. Each sportsbook will be allowed to open only after Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has approved its plans on how it will supervise player accounts, record transactions, age verification, identity authentication, for online gambling, and the location of each bettor. The PGCB will also look for firewalls that will block employees from being able to conceal or commit a fraud while working. New employees and all vendors involved in implementation of the sportsbook will undergo background checks.
Get it Done Right, Not Fast
Spokesperson for the Gaming Control Board, Doug Harbach, said that board members believe it’s more important to get this done right than it is to get it done according to some artificial deadline. In an interview with Penn Live, he said,
“There’s a week one of the football season. There’s a week four. There’s a week seven. I would anticipate this is going to be successful in Pennsylvania and that those who want to participate in sports wagering are going to immediately participate whatever week of a sports season that comes.”
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