Online gambling became a reality in Pennsylvania on October 30th, 2017 when Governor Tom Wolfe signed a landmark gambling expansion bill. It started with the PA Online Lottery launching in mid-2018 followed by online sports betting, online casinos and ultimately online poker in late 2019.
Since the market opened up, Pennsylvania has become one of the major hubs of online gambling in the United States, with over a dozen different operators offering some form of online gambling, rivaling only Michigan and neighboring New Jersey. Online gambling has been a huge boost to the state with most brick and mortar PA casinos partnering with established casinos and sportsbooks bringing in a healthy amount of competition and plenty of tax dollars.
What is available in Pennsylvania?
PA online gambling regulations allow for a wide variety of new ways to gamble online including an online lottery. For the purposes of PA licensing, existing brick and mortar PA casinos partnered with online gambling software providers to offer online slots and table games as part of the online casino as well as online poker. A separate license allows casinos to offer online sports betting.
The PA online gambling market is still evolving so expect the list of operators to continue to expand, especially in areas such as online poker.
Online Sports betting in PA
Sports betting has exploded on the scene since the United States Supreme Court opened up markets with a landmark decision in 2018. With PA passing a conditional online sports betting bill before that decision, sports betting was able to quickly establish itself in the state.
Now there are a handful or sportsbooks available in PA, with many offering betting lines on all major sports and even some popular and obscure international sports. About the only thing you can’t bet on in PA is eSports, high school and other amateur sports. In addition to a traditional sportsbook, most online sportsbooks offer live betting.
Most of the online sportsbooks are tied to the brick and mortar counterparts, often available through a partner’s casino. Nationwide brands such as DraftKings and FanDuel or being joined by PA-branded casinos such as Hollywood Casino and a casino from Parx.
Online Poker in PA
Online Poker was slow to go live in Pennsylvania, but in late 2019, PokerStars became the first online casino to offer games to players.
And since then, it’s all been PokerStars, although more online poker brands are expected to come into 2021. In fact, a second online poker room came to the state when Borgata and BetMGM (both using the partypoker software) went live in March 2021. Although the number of online poker rooms may be minimal now, PokerStars and partypoker are among biggest online poker brand in the world with a long-standing reputation in the poker world.
At this time, players in PA are only allowed to play against other players in the state. This means that players can not play with players in other states (although this could happen over the next year or two) or from the global poker pool, which will not happen anytime soon, if ever. Fortunately, with the population of Pennsylvania around 13 million, there are more than enough people in the state to sustain a few poker rooms.
Online Casinos In PA
For licensing purposes, casinos are separate from online poker rooms because players are effectively playing against the house. While online poker has not been as widely adopted in PA, most PA online casinos are offering or are intending to offer some form of an online casino.
Online casinos in the state are separated according to table games and slot games, which each taxed at a different rate. When Pennsylvania passed online gambling there was significant pushback from casinos on taxes, but that ultimately has not stopped many casinos in the state from moving forward. Unlike online poker in PA, if you are looking for choices, you got it, with many casinos already launching games.
Although game selection varies according to casino, expect to find a few dozen slot games at most casinos with a handful of table games such as blackjack. Because online casinos are in its infancy, new games are frequently being added to newer casinos.
Other Online Gambling
Apart from online poker, online casinos and online sports betting, Pennsylvania also offers a version of the lottery online through the PA iLottery. Dozens of “instant” games are available in the PA online lottery with a variety of types of games including….
The games in the PA iLottery are popular due to their simplicity and engagement factor. Although they don’t offer players the robust games of many online casinos, some of them could be mistaken for more basic online games.
More recently, the PA Online Lottery has allowed the purchasing of traditional draw game tickets online, meaning players can now buy lottery tickets for games like Powerball, MegaMillions and Cash4Life.
Players can take advantage of a New Player bonus as well as a $5 No Deposit offer, allowing you to try the games without risking any of your own funds.
A History of PA Online Gambling
The first form of legalized gambling in Pennsylvania was through horse racing with the first track opening at the Meadows Racetrack in 1963.
The PA state lottery was established in 1971 as a way to aid senior citizens in their property tax payments and to prevent illegal online gambling. After a handful of unsuccessful attempts, it wasn’t until 2004 that the state brought casino gambling to the state through the Pennsylvania Racehorse Development and Gaming Act, eventually leading the state to become one of the biggest in terms of revenue besides Nevada.
With many Pennsylvanians gambling offshore, Pennsylvania made history by becoming the 4th state to bring widespread online gambling to the state to become regulated. A landmark bill was signed by Governor Tom Wolfe in October 2017, which greatly expanded gambling by introducing mini-casinos, truck-stop machines and sports betting. Perhaps most notably, the bill included a comprehensive online gambling bill that included an online lottery, online poker, online casinos and an online sportsbook.
What is the minimum age to gamble in Pennsylvania?
The age for gambling online in PA is 21, the same age for gambling inside a Pennsylvania Casino.
Who can online gamble in the state of PA?
Besides being 21 years of age, in order to gamble at PA online casinos, you must be physically located in the state at the time of gambling. Geo-location tools are used on your devices to ensure that you are actually located in the state while playing.
What is the relationship between Pennsylvania casinos and Pennsylvania online casinos?
During the licensing process, an online casino or software provider was required to partner with an existing Pennsylvania casino in order to offer online gambling.
Who regulates online gambling in PA?
Pennsylvania online gambling is regulated by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. Any rules or regulations not expressly stated in the 2018 law legalizing online gambling is established by the PGCB.
What is the law that regulates online gambling in PA?
A landmark PA online gambling law was signed by Governor Tom Wolfe in October 2017 that greatly expanded gambling in the state including the legalization of online poker, online sports betting, online casinos and an online lottery.
Are PA Online Gambling sites safe?
Online casinos, online sportsbooks and online poker rooms are legal in the state of Pennsylvania. All licensed operators are regulated by the PGCB, which ensures that the games are much safer than their offshore counterparts in a variety of ways. For example, players are able to use traditional mainstream methods for deposit, player funds are segregated through operation funds and are channels to file complaints.
What devices can I use to gamble online in PA?
Most PA online casinos allow you to gamble online through a web-browser. Alternatively, dedicated apps are provided for some online sportsbooks and most online casinos. If there is an app created for your favorite casino on an Apple device, you can download through the App Store. On Android devices, you won’t be able to find real money gambling apps in the Google Play Store. Instead you can find the apps directly from the online casino website, if offered.
How can I deposit and withdraw my funds?
With the regulation of online gambling in PA, there are many different ways to make a deposit and withdraw your funds. The specific options will vary based on the online poker room, casino or sportsbook but generally you can deposit using credit cards, bank transfers, Paypal and other options. Withdrawals can be made through bank transfers, PayPal and check, to name a few. To check the specific options available, check the cashier of the operator.
What should you do if you have a gambling problem?
Part of the regulation of online gambling in Pennsylvania is prevent minors and problem gamblers from playing games for real money online. If you are 21 years of age or above but feel like you have a gambling problem, there is help available for you through the problem gambling helpline at 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537).