Every year, people around the United States spend the last weekend in November watching football, spending time with family and friends, and letting the world know what they are thankful for. Well, in 2018, there are a lot of reasons for the gambling world to give thanks, but for sports betting hopefuls in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, there is something a little more special as their turn to enter the regulated sports betting market has come.
A long time coming in Pennsylvania
In the early wake of the repeal of PASPA in May of this year, Pennsylvania seemed set to be one of the first states to adopt sports betting after New Jersey. However, the process of getting the first bets taken in that state has been slow, to say the least. The first issue that arose with sports betting was the cost of entry for applicants.
For some reason, the state has levied a massive application fee into the millions, including a USD 10 million fee for anyone wanting a full sports and online gambling license. This can be a tough nut to swallow, even for the cash-rich casino industry. The end result of that decision was the fact that only a handful of companies applied and taking their time right up until the deadline. This was no doubt to watch and learn from the New Jersey market, to see what types of handle and hold figures were coming out of the Garden State.
Well, finally this past week, Pennsylvania did indeed take their first sports bet, and it is expected that the number from the first week of betting will be impressive from Hollywood Casino. This will be even further strengthened by the fact that there were extra days of potential betting this week with the three Thanksgiving NFL games thrown into the mix.
With multiple properties set to launch their sportsbook before the end of the year, the residents of Pennsylvania will get a chance to put down some bets on at least one of their NFL teams as the playoffs rapidly approach.
Rhode Island gives residents a land-based Cyber Monday gift
Rhode Island is the next state that plans to go live with sports betting, with the first bets scheduled to be taken at 3:00pm Eastern Time at the Twin River Casino in Lincoln. There have been lots of questions surrounding this project since the state approved sports gambling a few months ago. First off, sports betting was scheduled to be in operation in the state in October, so the state is already looking at a significant hit to the 23.5 million USD they allocated in their budgets for tax revenues from Sports Betting in 2018.
Next, there is some question about having the lottery be the only license holder in the state. The state lotteries have been notoriously conservative in their approach to business, and while this may be fine when it comes to selling Powerball tickets, the state will need to be more nimble when it comes to betting on sports.
Another issue that may face Rhode Island as it enters into sports betting is the state’s proximity to its neighbors, and more importantly to casinos in those neighboring states. The good news for Rhode Island is that neither Massachusetts nor Connecticut have launched sports betting and likely won’t for at least a few months. This will give residents of the state no alternatives in those states for betting, which should, in turn, drive them to places like Twin River Casino.
Time will tell if land-based gamblers prefer to make the drive to place sports bets as much as they do to play slot machines.
These are positive steps
Regardless of the challenges faced by each of these states in launching their sports betting operations, the bottom line is that this brings the U.S. one step closer to allowing all residents to have access to legal, safe sports betting. This is something we in the industry are very thankful for, and now we turn our attention to see if Santa brings any other states the gift of point spreads and money lines before the end of the year.