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

Legal online gambling and sports betting are 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, making Pennsylvania the 4th U.S. state to legalize online gambling!

In November of this year the first land-based sportsbook in Pennsylvania opened at Hollywood Casino at Penn National. In the coming weeks several other approved casinos expect to launch similar operations: SugarHouse, Rivers, and Parx all have the potential to open any day now. Additional sportsbooks will follow, and in early 2019 be joined by online sports betting apps, 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

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PA Sports Betting: Live In 2018 When and where can you bet on sports in PA?

After months of speculation about Pennsylvnia sportsbooks the first land-based operations have finally begun to go live. Penn National and partner William Hill have officially launched their temporary physical sportsbook at Hollywood Casino. It won’t be long before others join Penn, as several other operators have received approval from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, including:
  • Parx Casino and South Philly Turf Club
  • Rivers Casino
  • SugarHouse Casino
  • Harrah’s Philadelphia
Construction on other temporary facilities is nearly complete. Parx Casino had been expected to launch before the end of November, with Rivers Casino and SugarHouse Casino to follow shortly after, though all have now missed opening by December 1. Still, the launches are imminent, and permanent facilities are expected to debut beginning in early 2019.
Of the five casinos licensed to offer sports betting, three have shared definitive plans for online. Notably, Parx Casino has targeted January 2019 for the debut of its online and mobile sports betting apps, while Rivers and SugarHouse — both to be powered by their own home grown platform, with services provided by Kambi — foresee launching their online books in the first quarter of 2019. Penn National has vaguely indicated either a Q1 or Q2 launch, and will likely offer a similar mobile experience to William Hill’s mobile sportsbook in NJ.
Harrah’s has not provided a specific timeline for its operations.  
There is a firm possibility that other casinos will join the sports betting market in the coming months, most notably the Churchill Downs owned Presque Isle Downs, which has already hinted at its plans. On the flip side, the eye-popping 36% tax rate on sports betting revenue may keep 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 less definitive, with the industry appearing on track for an early 2019 debut, though the definition of “early” may be loose. 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 a current rush to sports betting appears to be occurring. 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 in either January or February 2019. As operators have been approve it is now on the development teams to get sites operational.

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 (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, 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, around January or February 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.

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 that will allow online sports betting until final permanent rules can be determined, allowing operators to get up and running as soon as November 2018.

Online poker brands like PokerStars and have applied for licenses to open up shop in the state. There is a signifcant likelihood that PA poker sites will 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.

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 very early 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 New York and Michigan may proceed with online gambling legislation in 2019.

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