Legal online gambling has come 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 and Oaks followed in March.
Additional physical sportsbooks will follow (Presque Isle is expected soon) but even more importantly online sports betting sites have finally begun launching as of May 2019. PlaySugarHouse was the first site to market, officially live after a three day soft-launch test period, and sister casino Rivers PIttburgh is expected to also have an online sportsbook up-and-running any day now.
These will also be joined by several other online sports betting apps in the next months, as well as online casinos and online poker rooms which are will begin launching on July 15.
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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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. Another nearby Parx location launched at the Valley Forge Turf Club, which has now rebranded as Oaks Race & Sportsbook.
Of the casinos licensed to offer sports betting, one so far is online with a couple others following shortly. PlaySugarHouse is fully operational and Rivers Pittsburgh should be launching any day now. Penn National, Parx, and FanDuel are also expected soon.
PA Online Casinos: Live July 2019 Virtual Slots And Table Games Are Almost Here
- Parx Casino
- Wind Creek Bethlehem (formerly Sands)
- SugarHouse Casino
- Hollywood Casino at Penn National
- Mount Airy Casino
- Harrah’s Philadelphia
- Valley Forge Casino
- Presque Isle Downs
- The forthcoming Live! Casino being built now in Philadelphia
PA online poker sites: Live in early 2019 What can you expect from PA poker sites?
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
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 then).
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 sportsbooks began launching in later spring 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.
The official date when the first wave of regulated PA online gambling sites will launch is July 15, 2019, though no exact timeframe is available yet for each specific site. Online sportsbooks are already active, some of which will share their domains and apps with their casino counterparts.
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.
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)
- 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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