New Pennsylvania Sports betting regulations are out (again)

This week, the state of Pennsylvania released a set of temporary regulations regarding the upcoming launch of sports betting in the state.

Now, those of you that have been following along may have heard this story before – this is not the first set of regulations that the state has released. In fact, this is the third version of it, and since it is titled as “Temporary,” it is safe to say some more changes will be made. However, we seem to be getting closer to understanding what will and will not be available for bettors and books in Pennsylvania, so let’s take a look a the highlights:

Bet Types are being added

Looking at the regulations as they stand, there are some clear bet types defined, and then a catch-all category at the end:

(1) Exchange wagering – A marketplace which permits patrons to bet with or against each other through a gaming platform operated and managed by a sports wagering operator.
(2) In-game wagers – Wagers placed on the outcome of an athletic event after the athletic event has started and can continue during the course of live play of the athletic event.
(3) Parlay wagers – A wager on two or more outcomes in which all outcome wagers must win or cover for the patron to win or, a series of three or more teams in 2-team parlays.
For the patron to win, all of the teams must cover/win.
(4) Proposition wagering – Wagers placed on the occurrence or non-occurrence of a specific outcome of events within a game not directly involving the game’s final outcome.
(5) Straight wagers – A wager on a single game or single event that will be determined by a point spread, money line or total score.
(6) Other types of wagers as approved by the Board.

While it is great to see exchange betting listed, this is clearly something that Betfair put in the ear of the regulators as this is their bread and butter and has been for over 15 years. It is more important for us to see teaser bets listed, although we are sure they will end up being part of the “other” types of available wagers.

Books are going to be able to lay off action

This is an interesting move, and if you are relatively new to sports betting, you may not even realize this is common practice. One sportsbook, if they are taking too much action on one side of a game, may choose to “lay off” part of the bets by betting that amount with another book. The book looking to lay off the action must make it known to the book they plan to bet with who they are and what they are doing, and must receive consent from the receiving book to lay off the action.

There is no real set of marketing restrictions…yet

While there is a category labeled Advertising and Promotions, there isn’t much in the way of details of what will or will not be allowed. We are curious to see if there will be restrictions on the types of bonuses that can be awarded, as well as if affiliate partners will be allowed to drive traffic. We presume that Pennsylvania will look to New Jersey for any suggestions as that state already has much of the marketing regulations in place.

People can bet on home teams….but anyone associated with a sport is not

There has been some concern that sportsbooks would be too conservative at the outset, and restrict gamblers from betting on local teams. This does not yet seem to be the case in Pennsylvania, which is excellent news. For now, only high school events, and amateur events that are not already approved by the state are prohibited.

There is, however, a long list of people who are prohibited from betting on sports, which includes the following:

(1) Knowingly accepting wagers from athletes on athletic events of the type in which the athlete participates as well as athletic events governed by the same governing body under which the athlete competes.
(2) Knowingly accepting wagers from a person who holds a position of authority or influence sufficient to exert influence over the participants in an athletic event, or a person professionally connected to an athletic event or governing body including, but not limited to, referees, officials, coaches, managers, handlers, athletic trainers, or a person with access to certain types of exclusive information on any athletic event overseen by the governing body.
(3) Knowingly accepting wagers from a person the certificate holder or licensee has reason to believe or suspect is placing the wager on behalf of or for the benefit of another individual that is prohibited from participating in sports wagering under these regulations or other applicable state or federal law.

These restrictions all make sense and fall in line with rules set out in Nevada and across the world.

So, we are inching closer to the launch of sports betting in Pennsylvania. We are expecting the first licenses to be granted in the coming days, and then the fever pitch to launch books will be in full force. However, until these regulations are nailed down, it is difficult to say exactly what we will see when the first bet is made in the state.


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