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Pennsylvania Gambling

FAQ / Q&A -- History -- Regulation -- Land Based Casinos -- Fun Facts


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Pennsylvania Online Casinos


Regulation and legality of online gambling

Pennsylvania legislators started looking into online gambling in 2013 while the State Senator was Tina Davis. The talk heated up by 2015. There were bill propositions in 2015, but it wasn’t until 2017 that the legalization of online gambling in-state came into effect. At the end of October in 2017, PA passed the state’s gaming expansion package, the H 271. It was signed into law by the governor Tom Wolf, and made Pennsylvania the fourth US state which legalized online gambling.

The new online gambling law allows 13 licenses and each of these licenses covers online table games, online slots and online poker (peer-to-peer games). At first, nine Pennsylvania casinos applied for the three-category license. The original 9 applicants include Parx Casino, Harrah’s Philadelphia, SugarHouse Casino, Hollywood Casino at Penn National and Mount Airy Casino, to name a few. The tenth brand to apply is Mohegan Sun. Everyone is eager to see what happens next, as concrete dates for launches haven’t been announced yet.

Online gambling is legal in Pennsylvania. It is one of the few states that has a well-developed and closely regulated gaming industry. Experts consider the Quaker State as ‘the next big thing’, due to the fact that they’ve been able to become one of the East Coast’s shining stars when it comes to offering a modern, and well-oiled gaming experience.

Pennsylvania has always had a strong casino culture, despite its track record of conservative politicians that simply viewed gambling as a manifestation of immorality. Even those who were opposed to casinos being built in their communities were quickly swayed by great execution and regulation, as well as the overwhelmingly positive impacts of tax revenue collected from these venues.

As the success of Pennsylvania’s developing casino industry was noticeable, expansion became pretty much imminent. However, nobody could predict the sheer magnitude of HB 271, which was greenlighted by Governor Tom Wolf on 26 October 2017. It was one of the biggest additions to existing gaming legislation we’ve ever seen.

In total, Wolf approved the authorization of online poker, online casino games, lottery sites, retail and online sportsbooks, DFS, VGTs at truck stops, mini brick and mortar casinos, and tablet gaming at airports. Many were surprised by the sudden nature of this bill, but the majority of experts believed that this was merely for show and that implementation would be slow.

Surprisingly, Pennsylvania proved all the doubters wrong. A solid legal framework allowed the rollout of new gambling-related activities to be smooth and painless. Even though many land-based casinos wanted to apply for an online gambling license, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) adopted a no-nonsense approach when it came to screening potential candidates.

When online casinos officially became legal in 2019, the PGCB did a test run with only three brick and mortar venues getting an interactive gaming license. Since then, the offer has grown to 10+ competing brands. Compared to most legal states, Pennsylvania has a very active and quickly growing iGaming market.

Penn-based casinos teamed up with international operators and software providers, which resulted in a great mix of two different gaming cultures. Due to the overwhelmingly pleasant experience one can get whilst playing legally, we believe that there’s no need to even look at offshore sites. The PGCB implement measures that are strong enough to believe that Pennsylvania’s online casinos are 100% safe and fraud-free.



Gambling history in Pennsylvania

A bit late to the party, Pennsylvania has made up for all the years of having an unregulated market with a bountiful land-based offering, lottery and horse race betting. In terms of commercial gambling revenue, Pennsylvania is second to Nevada, the home of Las Vegas, no less. Interestingly, Pennsylvania has a history of being a regulated gaming state of a little over a decade.

Before casinos and the modern concept of gambling, Pennsylvania embraced horse racing and lottery. The Pennsylvania legislature passed the Race Horse Industry Reform Act in 1959, and the oldest racetrack which is still operational today was opened in 1963. Before that, horse races were prohibited and despite that, ‘betting on the ponies’ was one of Pennsylvania’s favorite pastimes throughout the 1700’s and 1800’s.

Modern-day gambling legislation in Pennsylvania focuses on making revenues to boost the state’s economy, create more jobs, and the like. The PA state lottery was established in 1971 and became a government-run entity with a purpose to relieve the elderly from property tax. There were failed pushes for regulating other forms of gambling in Keystone State in the 90s, but it wasn’t until 2004 that Pa got its Act 71, known as the Pennsylvania Racehorse Development and Gaming Act. The document established the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board and legalized casinos and racetracks across the state. Slot parlors (future casinos) were authorized to operate virtual lottery terminals (VLTs), and in 2010, these were added table games (poker). In 2017, Pennsylvania officially became the fourth US state to legalize online gambling.


Land based casinos

PA was quick to implement is legislation, and that allowed the brick and mortar industry to thrive throughout the state. In Pennsylvania, you can visit racinos (casino and racetrack combinations), smaller standalone casinos (slot parlors) and resort-style casinos which include massive gaming floors and lavish hotels. There are a dozen venues that cater to horse race lovers, slot machine enthusiasts, poker fans and beyond.

Notable racino facilities include Harrah’s Philadelphia in Chester, Meadows Racetrack and Casino in North Strabane Township, Parx Casino and Racing in Bensalem and Hollywood Casino Grantville in Dauphin. Harrah’s offers traditional casino games like blackjack, craps and roulette, as well as Pai Gow Poker, Pai Gow Tiles and Sic Bo. The casino is equipped with a 35-table 24/7 poker room and a limestone encrusted racetrack overlooking the Delaware River.

The Meadows Racetrack and Casino caters to a diversified group of gamblers, offering a 350,000 square-foot gaming establishment and a year-round racing schedule. Meadows it situated in the Greater Pittsburgh area, housing more than 3,500 slots and video pokers. It also features Three Card Poker, Let it Ride, Texas Hold’em, as well as roulette and blackjack tables.

If you care for a more pampered treatment, you can visit the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington or the Valley Forge Casino Resort in Upper Merion Township. More alternatives to the racino facilities include Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia and Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem.

Neighbouring States: Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, West Virginia



What’s the minimum age required for playing at Pennsylvania online casinos?

According to Pennsylvanian law, you have to be 21 years of age in order to create an account at any website run by local casinos. The age limit is equivalent to the one imposed for most other forms of gambling, which is identical to the thresholds in NJ and NV. Furthermore, underage gambling is prevented by the fact that many casino apps require you to either provide a scan of your ID/driver’s license or register at the counter in a brick and mortar casino.

Which games are offered by casino sites in Pennsylvania?

At Pennsylvania online casinos, you can find pretty much everything that interests you. Initially, sites only bothered to offer basic table games and a few slots. However, as competition became more fierce with the addition of new brands, everyone stepped their game up.

Now, you can find titles both new and classic, with a plethora of promotions offered on a daily basis. Expect even better game rosters in the future.

Can you play live dealer games, too?

Of course! Pennsylvania has a strong casino culture, so it’s no wonder that the state’s players love to recreate the brick and mortar feel by partaking in live casino games.

Unfortunately, not every site has the best titles, as some have barely bothered to offer one or two roulette variants. However, things aren’t all that bad, given the fact that you have 10+ online casinos to choose from.

What about payment options? Do Pennsylvania online casinos offer all the standard payment methods?

Since the Quaker State has a legal online gambling infrastructure, casinos are able (and somewhat required) to adopt all the popular payment methods and providers.

On almost every site, you’ll find the option to make deposits with your credit/debit card. Even though it’s a slow and outdated method of transaction, cards are still the easiest payment method to set up. You just need to type out the number, expiry date, and SSC.

Nevertheless, eWallets and cryptocurrencies have risen in popularity, due to their supreme technological solutions and security features, respectively. Online shopping and safety are at the top of every casino aficionado’s priority list, so PayPal or Bitcoin might seem like ‘logical solutions.’

How fast can you expect to receive withdrawals from casino sites in Pennsylvania?

While there are some Pennsylvania online casinos that have identity verification protocols, the estimated time of arrival depends on the payment method you’re using. In case they do need to review your documents, it will be an added 1-2 days. Without such measures, here’s what you can expect:

● eWallets: Instant

● Cryptocurrencies: 15-60 minutes

● eCheck: 5-7 days

● Credit/debit cards: 3-5 days

● Wire Transfer: 4-6 days

Fun Facts about Pennsylvania

  • America’s favorites include junk food, and a lot of them came from Pennsylvania. There is a part of central Pennsylvania that’s commonly known as the Snack Belt where most of the companies like Hershey’s, Tastykake, Auntie Anne’s, Herr’s, Planters and Utz are located.
  • Sylvester Stallone donated the larger-than-life Rocky Balboa statue to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1982. Disputes over whether to keep it, and where to put it, have been going on ever since.


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