Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Approves Temporary Rules for Sports Betting

Close up of baseball in a Glove with dollar bills in concept of getting money with bets in baseball

As Pennsylvania moves toward offering real money sports wagering, the Gaming Control Board has approved temporary rules for the industry. The board has been working on new regulations for sports betting since the state legalized the option through a 2017 gaming expansion law.

New rules

With the passage of the gaming expansion law last year, sports betting was approved for legalization in Pennsylvania, if the United States Supreme Court opened the door via a New Jersey court case. SCOTUS did just that on May 14 by striking down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. Since that time, the board has been working steadily to put regulations in place so wagering can begin.

The rules approved by the board include a requirement that all casinos providing sports betting must hire a third-party monitor. This monitor will ensure the integrity of sports wagering operations. A spokesman for the board, Douglas Harbach, stated that integrity monitors are commonplace in other areas, such as Nevada and Europe.

There is no set timeline as to when sports betting will be live in the state but yesterday’s meeting of the Board helps to keep the ball rolling. Harbach said that information on what types of sports contests will be open for legal wagering could be released next month.

Penn State requests delay

As the Board revealed their regulations, Penn State President Eric Barron sent a letter to the board requesting that in-state college sports games betting be prohibited for a two-year time frame as the new sports gambling regulations are put into place. In the letter, Barron said that the new regulations wording could make student-athletes susceptible to game-fixing, more so than the professional leagues.

Barron wrote: “Sources looking to influence or gain an unfair advantage in wagering on collegiate sporting events occurring in Pennsylvania will be overwhelmingly ‘local’ to Pennsylvania. Limiting the ability of such local parties to place wagers on Pennsylvania college and university athletic events, at least during this two-year temporary period, will substantially reduce the likelihood of issues arising before our institutions can put into place policies and procedures with sports wagering on their athletic contests.”

Several others have also written letters to the board about the regulations, including the University of Pittsburgh. Heather Lyke, the athletic director for Pitt, did not ask for restrictions like Barron. Instead, she requested that so-called “impact fees” be paid to the institution to cover financial costs that sports betting will add to the university’s budget.

According to Lyke, the university will need to enhance both education and compliance efforts for sports betting. Additional staff will most likely have to be hired for that purpose, and the university will have to coordinate their efforts with the NCAA as well as its athletic conference.

The board should reveal more information about the sports betting industry for Pennsylvania in coming weeks. Once live, Pennsylvania will join the ranks of Delaware and New Jersey, both of which recently launched sports betting services.

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