You don’t have to be an expert in sports betting terminology or know much about sports at all to walk into a PA sportsbook or login to a PA sports betting app and place a bet.

Of course, the more you know, the easier it’ll be.

Here’s what you really need to know before you place your first bet:

The odds and basic bets

You need to know what the basic bets available are before you can bet them. For most sports there are just three basic single-game bets you can make in PA. These include:


Moneyline bets are simple. You pick a winner and get paid according to odds based on that team’s probability of winning if that team wins. All you have to do is pick the outright winner and lock in the odds at the time you place your bet.

The odds on the favorite will be a negative number. The odds on the underdog will be positive. Negative numbers represent how much you would need to wager to win $100. Positive numbers show how much you would win from a $100 bet.

Point spreads

Point spread bets are pretty simple as well. Just make the correct prediction with a line set by oddsmakers factored in and you’re a winner. Point spreads vary from game to game in most sports. Plus, the odds you’ll get paid vary from sportsbook to sportsbook as well. However, payout odds on point spread bets work the same way they do with moneyline bets.


Totals are also referred to as over/under bets and it doesn’t get any easier than this. PA sportsbooks set a line on the total number of points both teams will combine to score in a game. Then it’s up to you to pick if the actual total will be over or under that number.

If you’re right, PA sportsbooks will pay out based on odds each has set for such bets. The odds work the same way they do with point spread and moneyline bets.

Beyond the basics

Going beyond basic PA sports betting odds and bets is not too difficult either. PA sports betting operators offer parlays and futures markets which are easy enough to bet on.


Parlays involve combining two or more basic bets into one. Most PA sportsbooks will offer parlay betting on multiple sports. These bets pay much better odds than straight bets because you have to win every bet that’s a part of it for the parlay to pay.

You can put together parlays involving bets on a single game, multiple games, and even multiple sports. But remember, you must win all your bets for the parlay to pay.


Futures bets are just what they sound like. These are bets involving an outcome that will not be determined until sometime in the future.

Traditionally, that means betting on who will win the Super Bowl, World Series, or NBA title before the season starts. However, most PA sports betting operators will take futures bets throughout the season and into the playoffs for various sports. The odds are simply adjusted alongside a team’s chances of winning.

That usually means the earlier it is in a season, the better the odds you’ll get. Plus, there are some long odds posted on true underdogs as a season progresses.

Where to bet in PA

Unfortunately, you can’t just walk into any bar or restaurant in PA where a game is on TV and bet on it. You need to place your bets with a licensed PA sports betting operator.

There are now eight retail PA sports betting operations at various casinos and off-track betting parlors in the state. A ninth retail sportsbooks will start taking bets in June.

Plus, two more are in the application process and the first PA sports betting apps are expected to launch in late May or June 2019.

You absolutely need to know where you can bet on sports in PA before you can place a bet in PA. Here’s a list of licensed PA sports betting operators:


Hollywood Casino at Penn National Sportsbook (Grantville)

Parx Casino Sportsbook (Bensalem)

SugarHouse Sportsbook (Philadelphia)

Rivers Sportsbook (Pittsburgh)

FanDuel at Valley Forge Casino (King Of Prussia)

Harrah’s Philadelphia (Chester)

South Philadelphia Race & Sportsbook (Philadelphia)

Valley Forge Race & Sportsbook (Oak)

Presque Isle Downs (Erie)

Mount Airy/BetStars/FOX Bet (Pending regulatory approval)

Mohegan Sun Pocono (Pending regulatory approval)


PA sports betting laws, rules, and regulations

You don’t need to be a lawyer or have committed PA sports betting law to memory to place a bet. However, a clear understanding of what’s legal in PA is something you should have before you head out to place your first bet.

The basics of the law are pretty clear: Anyone inside state lines age 21 or over, with no affiliations to the league, teams involved, or the game itself can bet on a game at retail sportsbooks or PA online betting apps.

The key here is that while you must be inside PA state lines at the time you place the bet, you don’t need to be a resident.

Plus, while sports betting is now legal at licensed retail sportsbooks and PA sports betting apps, it is still against the law elsewhere. That means it remains illegal to bet with a bookie or offshore online sportsbook.

Finally, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has been tasked with overseeing PA sports betting.

The organization is a little more restrictive in terms of what it allows people to bet on than some. You can bet on all kinds of college and pro sports. However, you won’t see betting on the Oscars or an Election in PA. PA sports betting operators are limited to offering bets on things directly tied to sporting events only.

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