PennBets, The Most Trusted Guide To Legal And Regulated Online Gambling Sites In Pennsylvania

Legal online gambling is coming soon to Pennsylvania! Online poker, casino games, the iLottery, daily fantasy sports, and sports betting were all part of an expanded gambling bill that passed the Pennsylvania Senate on October 25th, 2017 and the House the following morning. Governor Tom Wolf signed the bill on the 30th, which made Pennsylvania the 4th U.S. state to legalize online gambling!

In November of last year, the first land-based sportsbook in Pennsylvania opened at Hollywood Casino at Penn National. After a brief head-start, it was soon joined in mid-December by Sugarhouse Casino and Rivers Casino. This made three locations where legal sports betting was available by the end of 2018. Parx Casino, South Philadelphia Turf Club, and Harrah’s were added at the beginning of this year. Valley Forge followed in March.

Additional sportsbooks will follow (for instance, Presque Isle has been approved and is expected soon). Shortly after, these will also be joined by online sports betting apps, as well as online casinos and online poker rooms.

Throughout, we will provide comprehensive coverage of all industry developments, updated frequently, during this exhilarating time for players based in Pennsylvania.

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News Updates View all Tracking PA Online Gambling Progress

PA Sports Betting: Live Now When and where can you bet on sports in PA?

After months of speculation about Pennsylvnia sportsbooks the first land-based operations finally began to go live at the end of last year. Penn National and partner William Hill established their temporary physical sportsbook at Hollywood Casino, and Rush Street Gaming shortly later entered the fray with working facilities at Sugarhouse in Philidelphia and Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh.

So far this year Parx Casino and the South Philadelphia Turf Club, as well as Harrah’s Philadelphia, opened sportsbooks in early January. In March a FanDuel-run sportsbook opened in Valley Forge Casino resort.

It won’t be long before more launch, as several other operators have received approval from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, most notably the Churchill Downs owned Presque Isle Downs. Additional properties such as Mohegan Sun and Mount Airy are still earlier in the approval process.

Permanent facilities are hoped to start debuting sometime in the second quarter.

Of the five casinos licensed to offer sports betting, three have shared definitive plans for online. Notably, Parx Casino had originally targeted this January for the debut of its online and mobile sports betting apps, while Rivers and SugarHouse — both to be powered by their own homegrown platform, with services provided by Kambi — and Penn National hoped to launch their online books in the first quarter of this year, though this is now shaping up to be closer to the summer.
Harrah’s has still not provided a specific timeline for its operations, and the industry is waiting to see if the new deal between Caesars and Draft Kings means the latter will wind up in charge of Harrah’s online operation.  
There is a firm possibility that other casinos will join the sports betting market in the coming months, but on the flip side the eye-popping 36% tax rate on sports betting revenue could keep some smaller casinos from joining the party.

PA Online Casinos: Live in early 2019 Virtual Slots And Table Games Are Almost Here

The timeline for the first online casino sites in Pennsylvania is not definitive, with the industry appearing to have been on track for a debut early this year before unfortunate delays. Generally speaking, Pennsylvania casinos have been more warm on online gambling than sports betting (despite online slot games being taxed at an onerous 54% rate) even if the rush to sports betting occurred first. This is presumably due to operators feeling there is a clearer path to profitability with online casinos, due to their lower overhead costs and higher margins.
We expect to see far more online casinos pop up in Pennsylvania than mobile sports betting apps. Already, 10 land-based casinos have filed petitions to offer slots and table games online, and nine of them have already been approved for interim permits. They are:
In addition, outside entities Golden Nugget — which operates the most successful online casino operation in New Jersey — and MGM, owner of the Borgata in New Jersey and dozens of other casinos throughout the world, have applied for online casino licenses in Pennsylvania. PokerStars was recently approved as an online poker room operator by the state, although they are not pursuing their own license apart from their planned partner Mount Airy. For more on online casino license holders and their iGaming partners, check out our partner tracker page.
Notably, license holders are permitted to support an unlimited number of branded sites or skins, in Pennsylvania, whereas sports betting license holders are limited to just one site per license. This supports the point that the online casino industry will be much bigger and more accessible to players than sports betting will be in the Keystone State.
Again, we don’t know exactly when PA online casinos will accept their first reel spin, but our best guess is Q2 2019. As operators have been approve it is now on the development teams to get sites operational. Parx has recently indicated plans to launch a functioning play-money casino site ahead of its real operation.

PA online poker sites: Live in early 2019 What can you expect from PA poker sites?

After a hot start, online poker has sort of become the red-headed stepchild of the legal U.S. online gambling sphere. In New Jersey, revenue has been on a downward trajectory for years. The entry of PokerStars in March 2016, and a shared liquidity pact between 888-branded sites in Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware (the only three states that currently offer regulated online poker) in May 2018 have slowed the bleeding, but the prospects for growth haven’t been good.
That is, until now. Pennsylvania is about to become the largest state (12.8 million) to offer online poker, with seven PA casinos and MGM all applying for a license to offer cash games, tournaments, and other poker formats. Big players like PokerStars (aligned with Mount Airy Casino), and WSOP.com (partnered with Harrah’s Philadelphia) will be present in the state, and because they have existing operations in New Jersey (and in the case of WSOP.com, Nevada), the door is open for them to pool their players across state lines, widely benefitting the industry.
Other operators may find the road more difficult, as it’s debatable just how many poker sites the Pennsylvania market can reasonably sustain. Based on the New Jersey market the answer appears to be about three or four, which may compel smaller operators to forge intrastate compacts to bulk up their player base. Already several casinos have withdrawn their applications for poker licenses, sensing that too many poker rooms will not be profitable.
As far as timelines, we suspect that PA online poker sites will launch in tandem with online casinos, optimistically in summer of 2019. However, while regulations leave open the possibility for operators to share online liquidity with other states, we don’t believe it will happen on Day One of the industry, if at all in 2019.

New concerns have arisen that current Department of Justice’s new opinions on the Federal Wire Act may temporarily invalidate the legality of interstate liquidity, though it will greatly depend on the interpretation of the new language. While the DOJ’s stance will not likely affect the online casinos at all, they may well cause extra delays to a new poker compact.

Online lottery and fantasy sports contests: Live now Play iLotto and Fantasy sports today

Two online gambling verticals are already legal and live in the state of Pennsylvania. The first is one that Pennsylvania residents have been enjoying for years: fantasy sports contests.
Led by daily fantasy giants FanDuel and DraftKings, the regulated fantasy contest industry went live in May 2018, and has since proven a reliable yet trifling source of tax revenue for the state, particularly ramping up in advance of actual sports wagering.  In total, there are nine regulated operators in the state, although it might as well be two, as the FD/DK combination accounts for well north of 95% of industry revenue.
The online lottery is also live, having opened its virtual doors in late May 2018. Since its inception the iLottery has steadily grown, now offering upwards of two dozen instant win games, a variety of promotions, including $5 free and a 100% match up to $100 for new players, rotating daily offers, and a dedicated loyalty program.

Pennsylvania online gambling player FAQ Common questions and concerns

The law legalizing iGaming in PA authorizes Internet slots, table games such as blackjack and roulette, and online poker. Temporary regulations have been passed to allow online sports betting until final permanent rules can be determined, which theoretically could have allowed operators to get up and running by the end of last year (if the sites had been ready).

Online poker brands like PokerStars and WSOP.com have applied for licenses to open up shop in the state. There is a signifcant likelihood that PA poker sites will eventually pool liquidity with online card rooms in other legal U.S. poker markets. Already, New Jersey has merged its player pools with Nevada and Delaware, so adding PA is a natural extension.

Daily fantasy sports and an online lottery were also legalized as part of the expanded gaming bill. Both went live in May 2018.

True sports wagering became legal in Pennsylvania late in 2018, and the first real-world sportsbooks launched in November and December. Online counterparts have been approved and are expected sometime in 2019.

All of Pennsylvania’s land-based casino operators were eligible to apply for separate licenses for online slots, table games, or poker rooms, or a superiors license that covers all three at once. Following the close of this exclusivity period, qualified third-parties were able to apply for licenses. Two took advantage, with MGM applying for both online casino and poker licenses, and Golden Nugget submitting a petition for an online casino license only.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), the agency which has overseen PA casinos since 2004, processed these applications over throughout 2018. To date, nine interim permits for online casino games have been issued, and seven for online poker.

While we still don’t have an exact date on when the first wave of regulated PA online gambling sites will launch, signs point to the first sites going live in the second quarter of 2019, including online sportsbooks. All of the major industry players have also announced partnerships with experienced software providers.

At this juncture, most casino operators have had their licenses approved by the PGCB, and now simply need to get their technology up-and-running to prepare for launch.

Read more on the advantages PA will enjoy for its iGaming launch.

To play for real money, PA gamblers must be 21+ years old (18+ for lottery games) and must be physically located inside the borders of the state during their online gaming session.

There is one caveat to this rule, which is players are prohibited from wagering real-money on an online casino site from within any of the state’s 12 land-based casinos. This stipulation does not apply to online sports betting,

Patrons do not need to be residents of Pennsylvania in order to play, and will be able to do so even if they are just passing through the state for a short period of time.

When signing up, patrons will need to provide their personal information, which will be submitted for a “Know Your Customer” check. This process will verify a player’s ID and age, while checking their credit history through credit bureau databases.

It is possible that people with certain criminal convictions may be barred from gambling online in PA, as is the case in New Jersey.

Online casinos will use third-party geolocation software companies to verify that their real money patrons are indeed within the borders of the state and outside the casinos. When playing from a desktop computer, gamblers will be prompted to install a small web browser extension which verifies and sends back notification to the casino that the player is physically inside PA. A similar check will be made on mobile gamers with features built into iOS and Android casino apps.

You can sign up for as many regulated online casinos, sportsbooks, and poker sites as you please, as long as you only create one account per license holder. Playing on multiple sites can be advantageous, considering that each will likely offer attractive free money sign up and first time deposit bonuses to new players.

Yes, players will be able to play for free on PA gambling sites in a few different ways. First, it’s common for most casino sites to offer demo/play money versions of their games to give patrons a chance to play for fun without risking real money.

Another way to play for free will be to take advantage of the free money sign up bonuses which PA iGaming sites will almost certainly offer. These types of bonuses usually range from $10-$30 and are awarded to players for simply creating an account at a gambling site. The deal is meant to entice potential customers to check out the casino site without having to make a deposit, while giving them the chance to win real money in the process.

In addition to free money sign up offers, PA casino sites will undoubtedly offer match bonuses for first time depositors.

While we can’t be sure what the exact deposit bonus offers in PA will be, existing NJ casino sites can help us make predictions. All sites there offer some type of deposit bonus incentive, which range from $100 all the way up to $10,000 in bonus cash. Virgin/Tropicana Casino offer a different type of bonus which pays up to 100% cashback on losses. Expect to see similar types of offers popping up in Pennsylvania when the industry goes live.

These types of bonus offers aren’t without a catch, however, in that players must wager a certain amount before getting full access to the cash. For example, a site could offer a 100% match bonus up to $500 with a 20X play through requirement. Therefore, if you deposited $300, you would receive $300 in bonus money, but would be required to wager $6,000 in total to unlock the full bonus amount.

And sometimes, different games contribute at different rates. Online slots almost always contribute at 100%, but play at table games and video poker may contribute less toward the wagering requirement.

We can expect a wide array of banking methods to be available at PA online casinos and sports betting sites, making it easy for nearly anyone to make a deposit or withdrawal. In New Jersey, for example, players can make deposits in the following ways, many of which will likely be made available in PA as well:

  • Instant eCheck (ACH)
  • PayPal
  • Cash at the cage in the casino
  • Online banking transfer
  • eWallets such as NETELLER or Skrill
  • Prepaid cards
  • Visa/MasterCard credit cards
  • Cash at 7-Eleven
  • Bank wire transfers
  • Paper checks

Withdrawals can be made using many of the same methods mentioned above.

Minimum deposit amounts are almost universally set to $10 in the Garden State, whereas the maximums vary depending on a variety of factors. These include the deposit method used, reputation with the bank, and VIP status, amongst other things. Certain methods can allow for deposits of up to $10,000 per day, while average maximums for methods like ACH and prepaid cards range from $500-$2,000.

Just like at PA brick-and-mortar casinos, players will have the option of banning themselves from online gambling entirely for a period of one year, five years or for life. Visit the PGCB’s website for more info on the self-exclusion process.

Other responsible gaming measures will be built into PA online gambling sites as well. Those may include options to limit losses to a certain amount, limit gameplay to a certain period of time or activate a “cool off” period, which will prohibit play for a specified period of time.

Finally, websites in Pennsylvania will likely provide abundant warning materials on the dangers of gambling addiction with links to resources for anyone that needs help.

You can expect iGaming sites to be available for play directly from popular web browsers like Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari, on both Windows and Mac operating systems, with no download required. Some casinos and sportsbooks might also provide the additional option of a standalone software client, though this isn’t as common anymore except for online poker.

Gamblers will also be able to play on mobile through free, dedicated apps for iOS and Android devices. Some sites may offer the option to play directly from mobile web browsers without the need to download any apps at all, but this is rare for mobile devices.

In 2011, the Department of Justice issued an opinion allowing for individual U.S. states to legalize online gambling. So far, Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania have done so, with many other states exploring the possibility. Since 2012 several states also offer online lotteries.

It is highly speculated states such as Kentucky and Michigan may proceed with online gambling legislation in 2019.

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