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Rush Street sportsbooks set for full launch in Pennsylvania

| By iGB Editorial Team
Rivers Casino and SugarHouse look to join William Hill at Hollywood Casino as early pace-setters in Pennsylvania this weekend

The number of sportsbooks live in Pennsylvania is set to treble this weekend, after Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia’s SugarHouse Casino began the final testing phase.

Both Rush Street Gaming-operated venues were granted waivers by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) to offer limited services to retail customers for 10 hours yesterday (December 13) and today (December 14).

The state regulator said the venues can join Hollywood Casino, partnered with William Hill, in launching their Kambi-powered services on Saturday December 15, should the test be completed successfully.

Both casinos are launching with temporary sports betting lounges, with permanent locations currently under construction and likely to open in spring 2019. Rivers’ temporary sportsbook lounge is around 3,000 square feet with seating for around 100 patrons, while SugarHouse’s facility is approximately 1,800 square feet with seating for 70.

With online betting in Pennsylvania pencilled in for a Q1 2019 launch, location is crucial for retail operations. Rivers Casino is just a short walk from Pittsburgh Steelers’ Heinz Field, and a busy weekend is assured with the National Football League (NFL) team hosting New England Patriots on Sunday.

Rivers Casino and SugarHouse received their sports betting licence approvals from the PGCB in October this year. With the regulator having completed additional checks, such as assessing whether the physical location is ready, systems are working and all personnel are prepared, it can progress to the trial roll-out.

Currently just one sportsbook is live in the state. William Hill took its first bets at Hollywood Casino, at Penn National Race Course, on November 20 following a two-day testing period. Greenwood Gaming's Parx Casino is also close to launching its sportsbook, with senior vice president of interactive gaming and sports Matthew Cullen telling iGamingBusiness.com that the venue is aiming to go live before the end of the month.

The Pennsylvania sports betting market has been tipped to be worth $12bn annually by industry analyst Eilers & Krejcik Gaming. With almost 13 million residents, the seventh state to allow sports betting is the largest in terms of population.

Sports betting operators must pay an initial licence fee of $10m (£7.7m/€8.7m) and all wagers are subject to a 36% tax rate.

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