WASHINGTON, Pa. (KDKA) — Sports betting has caught fire in Pennsylvania and is getting hotter, especially among the rabid sports fans in our neck of the woods.

Wagering on games is already going at The Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, and now it is poised to come to The Meadows in Washington County.

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The Meadows Sportsbook is expected to be approved Wednesday by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board and should be operational next week, giving a needed shot on the arm to the slots and blackjack tables there.

“When you see the 17 TVs surround you, the kiosks we’re going to have up front, the folks that have intricate knowledge on the betting lines that will be able to talk to you on the wagering counter,” said The Meadows General Manager Tony Frabbiele.

The state doesn’t have statistics on the age of sports bettors, but operators say they are decidedly younger and male.

Many are first-time gamblers who suddenly have the choice of betting on a game at the casino or betting online.

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KDKA’s Andy Sheehan: “Do you have any concern that sports gambling is going to breed a whole new generation of problem gamblers — younger ones?”
Frabbiele: “Not personally, I think we have great controls in place.”

While it’s too soon to tell if major problems will arise, the success is undeniable.

The Rivers opened its permanent sportsbook Monday, but since December, its handles — or wagers minus payouts — is $93 million.

If approved, The Meadows will become the twelfth sportsbook in the state, hoping to get a slice of a market that’s already grown to a half a billion dollars.

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It’s younger, it’s exciting and it’s not without its dangers, but sports betting is here to stay in Pennsylvania and only getting bigger.