Want to bet legally in PA on Penn State football? It could happen soon

Penn State football runs onto the field for the White Out game against Michigan at Beaver Stadium on Saturday, October 21, 2017.
Penn State football runs onto the field for the White Out game against Michigan at Beaver Stadium on Saturday, October 21, 2017. Centre Daily Times, file

Placing bets on Penn State football — and other collegiate sports — in Pennsylvania reportedly got another step closer to reality.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on Wednesday gave the OK for bets to be placed on games played by in-state colleges and universities, reported, when it approved a set of operating regulations for potential sports books.

However, none of Pennsylvania’s licensed casinos have yet jumped into the sports betting market, which was made possible by the state’s 2017 gambling expansion law and the United State’s Supreme Court’s May decision to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.

Although Pennsylvania’s new sports betting regulations have not yet been made public, PGCB Executive Director Kevin O’Toole confirmed to PennLive that they will include full-game bets on in-state collegiate contests.

In a letter to the board in June, Penn State President Eric Barron asked for at least a two-year moratorium on college sports betting, to give the university more time to prepare for its implementation.

Among other issues, Barron cited concerns that amateur athletes could be more susceptible to cheating and game fixing, and as there are no collective bargaining agreements in amateur athletics, the burden of preventing, investigating and disciplining potential violators would fall largely on the universities.

However, Barron’s request for more time was denied.

“This is disappointing news from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board as we have made clear our position that wagering on collegiate sports should have limitations, and that we be provided the time and resources needed to further educate our students, student-athletes, coaches and staff members,” Penn State’s statement to PennLive read. “Nevertheless, the university, together with intercollegiate athletics, will move ahead to educate our community on sports wagering and athletics integrity issues, and the consequences of rule violations and illegal behavior.”

O’Toole told PennLive that the decision to include college sports was done with the intent to follow as closely as possible the language in the state’s 2017 gambling expansion law. He said that because lawmakers had drafted language permitting betting on college sports, regulators did not want to restrict the market with regulations.

O’Toole said that the reason no casinos have yet filed for sports betting certificates is because they have yet to see the final set of regulations.

The next time the board meets is Sept. 12, which O’Toole said means the earliest casinos could get approved for sports betting is October.