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Ayo Akande
Ayo Akande Author
Publication date: 2021-08-05 Last updated: 2021-11-29

Online gambling in Pennsylvania overview

  • Online Casinos

    Online casinos commenced in July 2019[3]. 12 Land-based casinos got a chance to extend their services online, with licenses going to casinos outside PA if unclaimed after three months. Hollywood Casino took the initiative. The State currently has nine casino apps.

  • Online Sports Betting

    After PASPA was scrapped in May 2018, it paved the way for HB 271 to usher in sports betting entirely. The first official bets were placed on Nov. 17, 2018, with Hollywood Casino. PlaySugarHouse won the title of the first online sportsbook on May 28, 2019. Over a dozen sportsbooks have since started operations in the Keystone State.

  • Online Lottery

    The State of Pennsylvania exclusively runs the online lottery via PA Lottery Retailers and PAilottery.com, which launched in 2018. Offering a decent collection of games such as Treasure Hunt, Mega Millions, Millionaire Raffle, Scratch-Offs, and more, residents stand a chance to win as much as $600,000. All proceeds from the iLottery go into programs that benefit the senior Pennsylvanians.

  • Online Poker

    After soft-launching for two days, PokerStar, in partnership with Mount Airy Casino Resort, officially kickstarted online in Pennsylvania on November 6, 2019[5]. Thanks to the population of Pennsylvania, the early turnout was impressive, averaging 500 players across seven days. A few months later, precisely in April 2021, BetMGM Poker and Borgata Poker got in. WSOP.com is to bring the number to 4.

  • Mini Casino

    In a move to earn more revenue, the Keystone State proposed ten new mini-casinos. Due to the lack of finances and interests, out of the five satellite licenses grabbed, one has come into fruition. Another will likely start operation at the end of 2021[4].

  • Fantasy Sports

    Before the gaming expansion, Daily Fantasy Sports was a gray area. But it was never prohibited. DFS was part of the gaming package in HB 271, and operators were taxed 15% in gross revenue. Expectedly, FanDuel and DraftKings were at the front with six other operators. Currently, 10 DFS operates in the State. The gambling vertical saw a 192.26% increase in Fantasy Contests Revenue from 2020[6].

We Are Pennsylvania Only Gambling Experts

To possess and honorably hold the PA only gambling experts title, our team is committed to perform myriads of functions, namely:

  • Reviewing and regular checking the platforms we’ve already considered
  • Keeping up-to-date with the most recent gambliong-related legislation
  • Observing the bonus offers in the long-term run.

These are our key responsibilities that we introduced to our mission, as well. 

Along with this, it’d be absolutely impossible to perform each of the functions listed without having a special gambling background and sufficient experience. 

It means that all of our team members have been into gambling and tend to evolve their skills by taking part in the gambling contests, regular gambling, and studying mechanics of gambling (like RNG and probability theory, etc.).

As a result, each of our platform’s users is eligible to receive the top-class information being both reliable and fruitful.

Everything You Need to Know About Gambling in PA

The gambling revenues by Pennsylvania in November 2020 reaching $48.5 million actually gave a great rise to record revenue rates generated in November 2021 that exceeded $45 million. It means that the industry doesn’t suffer from any negative outside factors and keeps on developing.

When it comes to the taxation-related revenues in PA, the numbers are also impressive: just in July 2021, Pennsylvania successfully generated a total of $7.15 million. Herein, sports betting only is considered. Nonetheless, in June 2021, the total amount of $12.32 million was reached. 

No, it doesn’t mean that the State’s gambling and betting activities are getting less popular. That fact might’ve been caused by the spread of pandemics, which is pretty predictive. 

As for the gross gaming revenue of casinos in the United States, Pennsylvania is ranked third: it’s gross gaming revenue of casinos is almost $3 million in 2020. The results for the year of 2021 are expected to be even more mind-blowing. 

The sums of revenues have always been mainly determined by the unique variety of the gambling activities available in the Keystone State. It means that the state-based casinos propose countless gambling activities, where the most popular ones are still poker and slot machines.

Launch Dates

After H 271 had been released, the gambling industry in the Keystone State got more and more income. On the one hand, it was determined by the new activities being introduced apart from the regular sports betting. Yes, after Tom Wolf signed the bill, the casino industry got a new chance for rapid and unbelievably prosperous development.

With plenty of similar bills signed up, the domain of online gambling in the Keystone State obtained new shapes. As a result, the gambling activities—which are currently popular in the State—appeared at the casinos gradually. 

Casino Activity Type Legal Since

Lottery

March 7, 1972

Daily fantasy sports (DFS)

2018

Online lottery

Retail sports betting

Online sports betting

2019

Online casinos

2019

Online poker

2019

PA Gaming Operators

At present, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board—the main controlling authority in the field of gambling in the State—has issued 25 licences to the gaming operators. It means that the following gambling services providers are eligible for functioning within the State borders.

In the table below we’re providing you with the most famous gambling operators known all around the Keystone State.

# Gaming Operator Owned by Launched in PA Online Casino Online Sports

1

BetAmerica

Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI)

2019

Yes

Yes

2

BetMGM

MGM Resorts International

2018

Yes

Yes

3

BetRivers

Rush Street Interactive

2021

Yes

Yes

4

Caesars

Vici Properties

2020

Yes

Yes

5

DraftKings

Jason Robins, Matt Kalish, and Paul Liberman

2019

Yes

Yes

6

FanDuel

Flutter Entertainment

2019

Yes

Yes

7

Hollywood/Barstool

The Chernin Group and Penn National Gaming

2019

Yes

Yes

8

PlayLive! Casino

Cordish Gaming Group, a division of The Cordish Companies

2020

Yes

No

9

Parx

Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment Inc.

2021

Yes

Yes

10

PlaySugarHouse

The Connecticut Lottery Corporation and Rush Street Interactive

2019

Yes

Yes

11

PokerStars/FOX Bet

Flutter Entertainment plc. (LSE: FLTR; EURONEXT: FLTR)

2020

Yes

Yes

12

Unibet

GVC Holdings

2020

Yes

Yes

13

Wind Creek

Poarch Band of Creek Indians and RTKL Associates 

2021

Yes

No

Is it legal to gamble in PA?

Online Poker Legalization

Following the steps of New Jersey, Online poker was also licensed in Pennsylvania by Governor Tom Wolf on October 30, 2017[7]. The Pennsylvania control board immediately started accepting license applications from different operators.

It was expected that the market would be fully operational by the summer of 2018. But the operation was delayed due to excessive complexity in the interpretation of The wire Act. According to Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board executive director Kevin O'Toole, the delay is the Department of Justice's reversal of its stand on the Wire Act.

As a result, kickstarting online poker in Pennsylvania being on an intrastate basis implies more cost on infrastructure, specifically the iGaming server, and less tax revenue and prize than anticipated.

After a long delay, Pennsylvanians, on November 4, 2019, got their wish. PokerStars was launched, and it only took a few minutes for hundreds of Poker enthusiasts in the State to satisfy their craving for iPoker.

Inspired by that, BetMGM Poker and Borgata Poker joined the party in April 2021. On July 12, 2021, WSOP.com upped the number to 4. Now, residents of Pennsylvania can enjoy a variety of Poker and tournaments.

Online Casinos Legalization

Online casinos in Pennsylvania was always a grey area since the internet was not considered in the State's criminal code. Residents of the Keystone State have Rep. John Payne laid the foundation for online casinos in Pennsylvania. He later introduced the HB 649 bill.[4]

His drive, which saw the House Gaming Oversight Committee sit almost 54 times, was even more commendable considering his preceding chairman opposed online gambling in PA. The sequel is the passing of HB 271 and the eventual legalization of online gambling in Pennsylvania.

Though many consider the entry fee into the Pennsylvania gambling markets steep, $1 million for Interactive Gaming Operator and over 4 million for Interactive Gaming Certificate Holder[8], a ready and expansive market makes it a worthy investment for online casino operators.

For those just exploring the online casinos here in the State, it is natural to start your gambling adventure by searching for the best PA online gambling sites. You don't need to.

Pennsylvania currently has nine regulated online casinos, and all of them provide premium quality gambling services. Personal preference may decide which one you pitch your tent with eventually. Each PA online casino features an extensive collection of quality casino games, including online slots, live dealers, and table games such as Baccarat, Blackjack, American Roulette, Sic Bo, Three Card Poker, and so on. 

Online Sports Betting Legalization

By the foresight of Rep. Rob Matzie and Rep. Nick Kotik, the State of the Commonwealth was well prepared to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) in 2018.[9]

Though not surprising as gambling was long-standing leisure in the State, the two were ahead of the curve when they proposed the bill. It, however, ushered in additional revenue generation for the State and regulated entertainment for the residents.

An operator that wants to launch a sportsbook must partner or affiliate with a land-based casino operating in the State, among other requirements[10]. This part of the law is essential to keep Pennsylvanians away from offshore sites as they cannot be vetted under gambling laws in PA.

All sportsbook sites operating in the State feature expensive sports markets. If a sport has a significant following, the chances are good that you can stake on Total Line, Money Line, Head-to-Head, Parlay, and so on. There are nine licensed online sportsbooks that will likely fit your betting needs. All offers event betting in NBA, NASCAR, MLB, NFL, MMA, Soccer, Golf, NHL, CFB, Tennis, etc. Betting on eSports is, however, not legal.

Unlike New Jersey, where it is not allowed, betting on college sports is entirely legal in Pennsylvania. That's understandable considering the long-standing history of college athletics and home to colleges such as Villanova University and Penn State University.  

Generally, the NCAA's position on the legalization of wagering on intercollegiate athletics is disapproving. That stand dates back to 1990 when NCAA executive Richard Hilliard considered it offensive during a PASPA discussion. Though States are still not open to wagering on Collegiate sports, few college football props on College Football Playoff and even College Football Playoff National Championship game are available in Pennsylvanian sportsbooks.

Horse Betting Legality

Horse racing betting regulation can be traced back to 1959 when the Race Horse Industry Reform Act was passed. Three horse racing tracks were licensed. One, Meadows Racetrack and Casino, was eventually opened in 1963. However, the history of horse betting went as far back as the 1700s, though it was considered illegal.

Following the advancement of technology, interest in horse racing is reviving in Pennsylvania via mediums like phone wagering, OTB, and simulcasting. Subsequently, Gov. John Baldacci put his signature on the racing regulatory bill. He created a five-member board, including Bangor lawyer Jean Deighan, former Saco legislator Peter Danton, small businessman Mike Peters of Dixfield, retired State police officer Larry Hall of Dedham, and broadcaster George McHale of  Orrington.

The purpose of the 2004 bill was to situate slot machines at licensed race tracks and the board to give the green light to qualified operators and oversee their operations. Racinos have since reignited the interest of Pennsylvanians in horse racing, with a good number all over the State.

Fast forward to 2017. The legislators passed the Advance Deposit Wagering Bill[11] shortly after that gambling expansion bill. It gives residents the freedom to bet on horse racing anywhere in the Commonwealth. TVG Networks and TwinSpires.com are the go-to operators in this vertical.

The horse racing industry is dear to Pennsylvania. That can be seen in how much support the sometimes industry enjoyed against other betting verticals. For instance, The Race Horse Development specified a specific portion of revenue, about 10%,  from slot machines toward uplifting the industry.  Of the $238 million generated from the State’s casinos in 2019[12], a part went to taking care of the employees, their families, and pension benefits, while the rest was to facilitate races.

Daily Fantasy Sports in Pennsylvania

DFS has been one of the games of choice among Pennsylvanians before the 2017 expansion bill signed by Governor Tom Wolf. Companies like FanDuel and DraftKings were required, as they should, to operate within the legality of online gambling in PA and have a business located in the State. For the Fantasy players, the bill didn't change much.

However, oversight seemed needed in that industry, and revenue, of course, generated. Consequently, 15% is tasked on adjusted revenue and $50,000 for a five-year license and $10,000 when it's time for renewal.  

Like other States, DraftKings and FanDuel have the first two names in the Pennsylvania Daily Fantasy sports market. The 8 other licensed operators are holding their own. They are Fastpick, Boom Fantasy, FantasyDraft, DRAFT, Fantasy Football Players Championship, Sports Hub, Yahoo Fantasy, and Monkey Knife Fight.

Collectively, the operators generated a staggering $202,893,037  and  $20,868,176 in Fantasy Contest Fees Fantasy Contest Revenue respectively. And Fantasy State Tax worth over $3 million was derived[13].

Online Lottery In PA

The first lottery in the State was conducted in 1972 after the general assembly established the Pennsylvania Lottery. Like all the gambling laws in the commonwealth State, the goal was to generate funds for public use - in this case, 27% went to caring for the elderly and the underprivileged[14]. And about $30 billion has since been generated for this purpose.

Not long after the momentous gambling expansion by the Pennsylvania Senate and approval by the Governor, a Pennsylvania Online Lottery was floated and overseen by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Gaming Oversight Committee.

PAiLottery.com continued and stepped up the State's tradition of using the proceeds for those more in need. Going by 80% growth in revenues and an average of $3 million generated daily, there would be more proceeds to care for the senior citizens of the State.

FAQ

How old do I have to be to gamble online in PA?

You must be 21 years old to play in online casinos and sportsbooks and 18 to play Fantasy sports and lottery.

What types of games can I play?

Online casino games including slots, table games, and Poker, Sportsbooks, Online lottery games, and Fantasy sports

Do I need to be a Pennsylvania resident to play online?

No. But for online gambling in Pennsylvania, you must be located in the State.

Why should one keep away from the offshore gambling and betting operators?

Unlike the PA-based gambling/betting platforms controlled and regulated by Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), the offshore companies cannot be as safe as the ones licensed by the PGCB. Also, they are not monitored by the PGCB, so in case of any fraud, the gamblers cannot be protected by the legislation of the State. What’s more, gambling online at the offshore gambling operators violates four bills of the Keystone State. Keep in mind that you’re supposed to gamble legally.

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