It’s only been a day since the NFL season began and already there are a few surprises, which is always fun when watching the games.
The fact that it would begin this late, combined with the fact that the games were all on TV, meant that most people were just sitting around, relaxing, and enjoying the football. Suddenly, with the opening kickoff, the fun became a little more exciting. However, even with the novelty of the sport, it still feels like a bit of a mystery to me as to why people still flock to sportsbooks after all these years. Is it the thrill of winning or the excitement of hitting a long shot that draws people to the betting side of the sports world?
Well, with no clear answer from a statistical standpoint, we can always turn to the money lines and try to determine whether or not a sport will be accepted in the state of Pennsylvania.
The fact that the NFL is popular across the country means that there is a significant number of people who would like to place bets on this fantastic sport. According to the latest numbers, there were 1,726,600 bets placed on the 2014 NFL Season so far, with the over under betting slightly in favor of the favorites.
The problem is that, unlike many other states, Pennsylvania has made it rather difficult for sportsbooks to offer their services. Back in 2009, the state passed laws that prohibited fantasy sports books and other online sites from operating in the state. Before the legislation was put into effect, several companies like DraftStreet and FanDuel attracted a huge number of users from the state, but once the bill went into effect, online sports betting in Pennsylvania practically ceased to exist.
The state’s problem with online sports betting isn’t that they want to withhold the service from its citizens, but rather that they want to make sure that the books take a chunk out of the revenue earned from these wagers. In the opinion of the lawmakers who put the bill into effect, the revenue from these wagers goes against the intent of the law. The bill also prohibits the resuming of online sports betting activity once the 2018 NFL Season begins. The minimum age to place bets in Pennsylvania is also set at 18, which is rather high compared to the rest of the country.
Forbes reported in August of 2016 that online gambling will be legalized in Pennsylvania in 2018. This means that the state will no longer prevent companies like DraftStreet or FanDuel from operating in the marketplace, which could potentially bring a lot of revenue to the state. However, to do this, the state would have to amend its existing laws to allow for online gambling. The amendment would only apply to horse racing tracks and casinos, but it would still allow for online poker and fantasy sports wagering in those locations. The state is also looking into establishing its own online gambling platform to get around having to rely on the unverifiable sites like DraftStreet and FanDuel to offer its services.
Which Sports Can I Bet On In Pennsylvania?
As mentioned above, the majority of bets are being placed on the NFL this year, but there is still some other sports that are drawing a decent number of participants as well.
The Pennsylvania racetracks have traditionally been a significant source of revenue for the state, but with the explosion of online betting and the subsequent lack of faith in the integrity of the tracks, online betting has shifted to other areas of sports, namely the NHL and the MLB.
The MLB isn’t doing as well as the NFL this year, but it is still one of the most popular sports in the country. In 2014 the MLB was the 11th most popular sport in the U.S., with 37.9 million people following the sport. The following year, the MLB only increased its popularity by a few hundred thousand people. This is rather surprising given how the sport almost completely invalidated all of its payoffs in 2014.
On the other hand, the NHL has consistently been one of the most popular sports over the past few years. In fact, the NHL is such a large part of the U.S. that more people in the country follow the hockey than the other sports put together. What is it about the NHL that compels so many people to bet on it?
Well, as in the case with the MLB, the integrity of the NHL is still rather questionable. Bettors are still relatively few and far between, but given the fact that there are so few states that outright prohibit online betting, it is not hard to see why people would want to place bets on the NHL, especially since it is so difficult to learn more about the sport.
This brings us back to the question of whether or not Pennsylvania will allow for online sports betting. It seems rather obvious that, at least in theory, the state should legalize online betting for all sports. After all, isn’t competition a good thing for any business? And isn’t providing a service that allows people to bet on their favorite sports a good thing for the state?
These are all rather good questions, but in order to provide a profitable service, sportsbooks need to be sure that they are able to make their numbers without violating any laws. This is why it is rather difficult for sportsbooks to determine how much money to charge for a wager considering all of the different scenarios that could play out. If the state were to legalize online gambling, it would give sportsbooks the certainty that they need to set their prices and make a profit off their customers. The problem is that there are a lot of people who like the “mystery” of placing bets without leaving their residences, which is why many people still flock to online sportsbooks, even though they are technically illegal.
What About The Blackjack Game?
The above information is rather useful when trying to figure out which sports to bet on in Pennsylvania, but what about blackjack or any other “classical” table game?
Well, if you want to place a bet on a game that is already illegal to play in Pennsylvania, you are going to have a difficult time finding a bookie willing to take your wager. The state’s problem with online betting doesn’t just pertain to sports, but it also applies to games of chance, as playing any sort of game that is off-track is against the law. This prohibition against games of chance being played outside of a casino means that finding a bookie who will take your wagers in these games is rather difficult.
When it comes to games of skill like blackjack or roulette, things are a little bit different. With these types of games, it is rather the lack of skill that hurts the player more than the fact that the game is being played illegally. For example, the house edge on blackjack is not very high, which means that a dealer will typically win a small amount of money off of each hand they deal.
Now, when it comes to actual skill-based games like poker or darts, it is rather the lack of competition that hurts the player. These types of games are rather difficult to play, and unless you live in a city with a lot of professional sports teams, it is rather difficult to find people who want to play against you. This makes it rather hard for the average person to win money off of these games, which is why they don’t often show up in the yearly revenue reports for sportsbooks, even though they produce millions in profit annually.
The above information should really come in handy for anyone planning on travelling to Pennsylvania anytime soon. Knowing which sports are popular and which ones are not can be rather useful when trying to find a game to bet on, as well as how much you should charge for wagers on these different sports. The fact that online gambling in Pennsylvania is still technically against the law but widely available outside of the state, means that there are still a lot of people who want to try their hand at gambling, despite the fact that they live in a place where it is officially “illegal.”
While the information presented above should make it rather easy for anyone planning on placing a bet on a sporting event in Pennsylvania, it is still rather difficult to find out which bookies are willing to take your wagers, especially if you are looking for a traditional, face-to-face meeting. Even if you live in a place where online gambling is legal, chances are you will still have to go to a casino in order to place a bet. Unless you live in one of the few places where online gambling is allowed outside of a casino, it is rather difficult to find a bookie who takes wagers other than on the NFL and a very few other sports.
As mentioned above, the NHL and the MLB have seen a significant increase in popularity since the beginning of the year, which is rather odd considering that they are both rather slow sports as far as the general public is concerned.