While New Jersey and Delaware are rolling along with sports betting, the question often comes up of where things stand with Pennsylvania.
The short answer is that the Keystone State remains in a holding pattern. Nothing will happen until at least Oct. 3 when the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board holds its next meeting.
Did we mention that Jersey took in more than $95 million in sports action? And this was before the NFL regular season started.
The PGCB has received two applications for sports betting, according to spokesman Doug Harbach on Thursday. One was from the people who own Penn National racetrack in Dauphin County. The other was from the parent company of Parx, which has its sights on opening sportsbooks at its Bensalem racetrack and at its offtrack betting parlor in South Philly.
Parx is closing the 360 lounge at its Bensalem casino this weekend to start construction on a temporary sportsbook, with a more-permanent parlor planned, perhaps back by the Liberty Bell Lounge.
In South Philly, one idea for the sports book is the space in the northwest corner of the second-floor OTB, where there are six teller stations. Whatever they do at 7th and Packer, the strong suggestion is to create separate betting windows for sports bettors and horse players. Nothing worse than a guy at the front of the line playing Monday's Seahawks-Bears game when I'm trying to play an exacta on a race that's at post time. Ugh.
A spokeswoman at Parx declined to comment on their plans.
An agenda for the Oct. 3 Gaming Commission meeting has not been set, but it's difficult to imagine no action being taken on the sports-betting applications. Penn National and Parx will have lost four NFL weekends by the time Oct. 3 rolls around. The PGCB's next meeting after that is Oct. 31, which is the Wednesday after Week 8.
The other three casinos in the Philadelphia area — SugarHouse, Harrah's in Chester, and Valley Forge — have yet to apply for sports-betting licenses.
Harrah's and Sugarhouse did not respond to requests for comment, but it's unlikely they would sit idly by as Parx builds a monopoly. The speculation at Harrah's is to have sports betting at least by the end of the year. SugarHouse is thought to be targeting January. Neither has started significant construction in public areas.
Valley Forge is transitioning ownership to Boyd Gaming, which in July announced a partnership with MGM Resorts International, which counts the Borgata in Atlantic City among its numerous properties. It's not clear whether they'll jump in. Boyd CEO Keith Smith said in a July conference call with investors, "We are closely evaluating (sports betting and online gaming) to see if they make sense for us after we complete this acquisition."
To secure a Pennsylvania license, operators are required to pay a $10 million fee and 36 percent local tax on revenue. Compare that to New Jersey, which has no fee and an 8.5 percent tax rate on casino sports wagering and 13.5 percent on mobile betting.
Once sports-betting licenses are approved in Pennsylvania, mobile options will follow.
Until then, there's always Jersey and Delaware.
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New Jersey properties had a revenue of $9,182,952 million on $95 million in sports bets in August, which doesn't include what they'll pay in future bets on things such as the Super Bowl winner. Here's the sports revenue for August, which includes mobile wagering, for each N.J. licensee:
Source: New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement
Super Bowl winners that opened the subsequent season at home are 12-2 straight up since 2004 and 8-3-3 against the spread after the Eagles beat the Falcons.
But now that the banner has been raised and the page has been turned from the championship season, how have those teams done in Week 2? Glad you asked.
Champs that played Week 2 on the road are 4-7 against the spread and 7-4 straight up. But, and this might be where there's a play to be made Sunday with the Eagles-Buccaneers, the over has hit in the last seven defending champions' Week 2s.
Granted, that might be a little obscure, but the Eagles' opponent this Sunday won 48-40 last week, the highest-scoring opener in NFL history. The over/under for the Eagles-Bucs is around 44.
Penn State is laying about 35 to visiting Kent State. It's just one of several 30-plus spreads on the college football board in games between FBS schools.
There have been 11 FBS games this year where the line has been at least 30 points, according to a log kept by GoldSheet.com. The favorite is 5-5-1. The push came when Oregon beat Bowling Green on Sept. 1, 58-24.
Oregon's first two games were against Bowling Green (where they were favored by 34) and Portland State (-49). This week, the Ducks host San Jose State (-41). The 41-point spread would be the highest in a game between FBS schools this year. Portland State is in the FCS.
The current highest is the 39.5 Ohio State laid to Oregon State on Sept. 1. The Buckeyes won by 46, thanks to 33-yard touchdown run with less than four minutes left.
Oregon opens Pac-12 play next week against Stanford. Kinda rootin' for Stanford in that one.
NFL.com points out that all seven new NFL coaches lost in Week 1. We point out that six also didn't cover the spread.
Jon Gruden (Oakland), Matt Patricia (Detroit), and Steve Wilks (Arizona) were blown out. Mike Vrabel (Tennessee) and Frank Reich (Indianapolis) lost outright as favorites. Pat Shurmur (N.Y. Giants) lost by five to Jacksonville as three-point 'dogs.
The only spread winner was Matt Nagy, whose Bears gagged a 20-0 second-half lead when Aaron Rodgers arose from the dead. Chicago did cover the touchdown spread in the 24-23 loss, so at least that's something.
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Home teams in CAPS.