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Pennsylvania sports betting to miss NFL kick-off

| By iGB Editorial Team
State’s gaming control board approves regulations

Fans of Super Bowl champions the Philadelphia Eagles will not be able to place bets in their home state ahead of the start of the NFL season.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has given its approval to regulations that will enable sports betting in the state, but the market will not go live until after the start of the 2018 American football campaign next month.

The state gambling regulatory body, which met yesterday (Wednesday) to vote on the measures, is yet to officially set out the new laws, but local media has suggested that the combined 36% tax rate remains. 

Operators were previously faced with a 34% state tax and 2% local tax and this will seemingly be the same under the latest set of regulations, despite no firms having applied for a licence under existing laws due to this cost.

However, despite the high rate remaining in place, operators are expected to begin applying for licences.

Other key revelations, according to Penn Live, include operators being able to take bets on a wide range of sports, include college-level events. High school sports will however be prohibited.

Betting will be restricted to punters aged at least 21 years old, while athletes or other team personnel will not be allowed to place wagers on their own games or on the sports that they play.

In addition, Pennsylvania punters will be able to place a variety of in-play and proposition bets, suggesting a strong online and mobile focus when the market launches.

However, this will seemingly not take place for at least the next month due to scheduling issues with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

The regulatory body is not due to meet again until September 12. Should operators submit their application in the interim, it would not go through until the next meeting.

This means that punters in Pennsylvania will not be able to place legal bets on the NFL until after the season starts. The NFL 2018 campaign is due to begin on September 6, with a large number of bets usually placed prior to the big kick-off.

Pennsylvania will therefore be behind other states that have already regulated sports betting and are taking wagers, and potentially miss out on tax revenue. This week, it was revealed that New Jersey took $40.6m (£31.9m/€35.6m) in the first full month of regulation.

Meanwhile, the control board has awarded interactive gaming certificates to three casino licence holders in the state.

Chester Downs and Marina, LLC, operator Harrah’s Casino Philadelphia; Mount Airy #1, LLC, operator of the Mount Airy Resort Casino; and Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment, Inc., operator of the Parx, have all obtained licences.

The licences enable the operators to offer non-peer-to-peer interactive slot games, table games and poker.

The control board is yet to confirm when regulated online gambling will begin in Pennsylvania, but last month said it had received nine applications for licences to offer such services.

In a statement, the control board said it will consider the remaining applications at its September and two October public meetings.

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