PA Online Gambling: an Expert Guide
It is legal to play at regulated online casinos, sportsbooks, and poker sites in Pennsylvania. In October 2017, Pennsylvania regulated online gambling when Gov. Tom Wolf signed a gambling bill into law. The PA online gambling bill took advantage of US online gambling laws, making Pennsylvania the fourth US state with licensed online gambling. Throughout 2019, the many legalized online poker, online casinos, daily fantasy sports, and sports betting websites launched in PA.
Pennsylvania Online Gambling Casinos, Sportsbooks & Poker Sites 2020
This guide to PA online gambling features this new era of gaming for Pennsylvania. Our experts discuss the best online casinos reviews, sportsbook reviews, and poker reviews in the new regulated market. We provide a Pennsylvania online gambling FAQ, a history of PA online gambling, and a list of the many land-based gaming venues in the state.
Pennsylvania Online Gambling Quick Menu:
- PA Gambling Laws
- Is Online Gambling Legal in Pennsylvania?
- PA Online Poker Laws
- Pennsylvania Online Betting
- PA Land-Based Casinos
- Track Betting & Off-Track Betting
- Charitable Gambling
- Pennsylvania Bingo Halls
- Social Gaming in PA
- Pennsylvania Online Gambling FAQ
- Timeline of Pennsylvania Gaming Laws
Pennsylvania’s Legal Casinos
Pennsylvania long has been one of the leaders in brick-and-mortar gambling in the United States. The state’s dozen casinos and racinos generate large revenues for the Pennsylvania Department of the Treasury — second only to Nevada. Pennsylvania licenses, regulates, and taxes most forms of land-based and online gambling. Sports betting was added to the mix in 2019.
Pennsylvania State Gambling Laws
Laws That Pertain to Pennsylvania Gambling
Though states like California, Washington, and Oklahoma have more casinos, no other state but Nevada collects more gambling taxes than Pennsylvania. Since 2017, the state has been a leader in the online gambling industry.
In October 2017, Gov. Tom Wolf singed a gambling bill which legalized online poker and casino sites. Pennsylvania also legalized sports betting. The 2017 law legalized tablet computer gambling in airport terminals and VLTs in truck stops, as well.
18§5513 and 4§325.101. Gambling Defined.
In Pennsylvania, gambling has three parts and must have these three parts to be considered gambling. The “elements of gambling are: consideration, element of chance, and reward.”
“Consideration” is defined as a “benefit which must be bargained between parties” – in gambling terms, the payout on a bet.
Ban on Bookmaking.
Pennsylvania law bans “Pool selling and bookmaking; punch boards, drawing cards; private wire for gambling information; cockfighting; bullet play illegal.”
Lesser known bookmaker bets are illegal: betting pools, punch boards, and drawing cards. So is wagering on cockfighting. Like the 1961 Federal Wire Act, the state makes it illegal to send private wires for gambling purposes. The 2017 law makes online poker and online casinos strictly legal, though.
Pennsylvania’s international airports can offer gambling on tablet computers to anyone who had a valid airline ticket. The tablet computer, which can be found at bars and restaurants in the airports, allow slot machine-type gambling. Arnold Palmer Regional Airport near Pittsburgh, a regional airport, also is allowed to offer tablet computer betting.
Pennsylvania Gambling Laws
|Type of Gambling||Offered/Licensed|
|Online Gambling||Ye, legalized in 2017, launched in 2018-19.|
|Land-Based Casinos||Yes, six casino, six racinos, five satellite casinos on the way.|
|Charitable Gaming||Yes, Bingo, if you are listed as an “association”.|
|Lottery Betting||Yes. State lottery (1972), Powerball (2002), Mega Millions (2010)|
|Minimum Gambling Age||18 for lottery, bingo and pari-mutuel bets. 21 for land-based casinos and racinos.|
Pennsylvania Online Poker Laws
- House Bill 271 – Submitted in 2017 by Joe Scarnatti, supported by Mike Turzai, Tom Wolf. Opposed by Republican backbenchers, though GOP leaders backed it.
Does Pennsylvania have land-based casinos?
Yes, Pennsylvania has six land-based casinos and six casino-racetracks, more commonly known as racinos. In the early stages of 2018, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board held auctions for placement of satellite casinos, also known as mini-casinos. Development continues on five more satellite casinos, which could not be within 25 miles of any other brick-and-mortar casino in the state.
Las Vegas Sands Corp. got out of the Pennsylvania market. LVS sold Bethlehem Sands Resort & Casino to a wealthy Indian tribe, the Poarch Band of Alabama (Wind Creek Hospitality). LVS plans a land-based casino in New York state in the coming years.
|Casino Name & Location||Casino Details|
|Sands Casino Resort | Bethlehem||3,053 Gaming Machines, 26 Poker Tables, 189 Gaming Tables|
|Lady Luck Casino | Farmington||597 Gaming Machines, 27 Poker and Gaming Tables|
|Valley Forge Casino Resort | King of Prussia||600 Gaming Machines, 50 Poker and Gaming Tables|
|Mount Airy Casino Resort | Mount Pocono||1,868 Gaming Machines, 9 Poker Tables, 72 Gaming Tables|
|SugarHouse Casino | Philadelphia||1,855 Gaming Machines, 28 Poker Tables, 108 Gaming Tables|
|Rivers Casino | Pittsburgh||2,969 Gaming Machines, 30 Poker Tables, 93 Gaming Tables|
Does Pennsylvania have any legal betting tracks / shops?
Yes, Pennsylvania has six legal betting tracks. In 2006, the traditional racetracks convinced the legislature to approve slots parlors for all six tracks, to help the thoroughbred racing and harness racing industry remain viable.
HORSE TRACK RACINO
|Horse Track Name Name & Location||Racino Details|
|Part Casino | Bensalem||Race Book, 3,330 Machines, 45 Poker Tables, 128 Tables|
|Harrah’s Philadelphia | Chester||Race Book, 2,448 Machines, 29 Poker Tables, 79 Tables|
|Pesque Isle Downs & Casino | Erie||Race Book, 1,594 Machines, 7 Poker Tables, 33 Tables|
|Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course | Grantville||Race Book, 2,384 Machines, 16 Poker Tabels, 56 Tables|
|The Meadows | Washington||Race Book, 3,114 Machines, 14 Poker Tables, 68 Tables|
|Mohegan Sun Casino | Wilkes Barre||2,332 Machines, 18 Poker Tables, 73 Tables|
|Race Book Name||Location|
|Northeast Turf Club||Philadelphia|
|South Philadelphia Turf Club||Philadelphia|
|Penn National OTW||York|
Does Pennsylvania allow off-track betting?
Yes. Several of the racinos have off-track betting facilities. Parx Racing has five “turf clubs” (OTBs) in the Philadelphia area. Northeast Turf Club, South Philadelphia Turf Club, and Valley Forge Turf Club are notable Pennsylvania OTBs.
Penn National Gaming, which owns gaming venues in Ohio, Florida, and 16 other states, turned Penn National Lancaster and Penn National York into OTBs. Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs also has OTBs like Downs at East Stroudsburg and the Downs at Lehigh Valley. The Meadows Racetrack and Casino owns the Meadows Harmar OTB.
|Race Book Name Name||Location|
|Allentown Off-Track Betting Bureau||Allentown|
|The Downs at East Stroudsburg||East Stroudsburg|
|Penn National OTW||Lancaster|
|Valley Forge Turf Club||Oaks|
Does Pennsylvania allow charitable gambling?
Yes. Under the terms of the Bingo Law, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board issues bingo licenses for non-profit charitable gaming organizations (“associations”). Here are a few of those charitable bingo parlors in Pennsylvania.
|Bingo Hall Name/Location||Bingo Hall Details|
|Uptown Bingo II | Harrisburg||50 Bingo Seats|
|Scott’s Bingo | Reading||N/A|
|Shelbourne Walk-In Bingo | Reading||250 Bingo Seats|
|Westlawn Program Bingo | Reading||14 Bingo Seats|
Is social gaming allowed in Pennsylvania?
Yes. Private poker games and other forms of social gaming are legal, so long as the host does not charge fees or otherwise making a profit off the gaming. If you organized a social gaming event for friends, you can’t charge a door fee or collect a poker rake.
Free-play social gaming casinos like Double Down Casino, Slotomania, Zynga, and Big Fish Games can sign up players in Pennsylvania. Freeplay online casinos like PlayMGM (MGM Resorts) and Play4Fun Casino (Mohegan Sun) are available. Mohegan Sun operates a racino in Pocono and Play4Fun rewards work there. Instead of driving to Resorts Casino in Atlantic City or Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, go to Mohegan Sun at Pocono to redeem your freeplay credits.
Timeline of Pennsylvania Gambling Bills
July 2004 | Pennsylvania Legalizes Racinos
Pennsylvania legislature passes Act 71, also known as the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act. Act 71 established the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, while legalizing land-based casinos. Also, horse racing and harness racing tracks could open slots parlors in order to boost their revenues.
October 2017 | House Bill 271 Signed into Law
Gov. Tom Wolf signed HB 271 into law. This bill regulated online poker and casinos. It established truck stop video lottery machines (VLTs) and airport tablet computer gaming. It established satellite casinos or mini-casinos, as well as legal daily fantasy sports gaming.
November 2018 | Pennsylvania Land-Based Sportsbooks Launch
HB 271 authorized sports betting, but casinos had to wait until the US Supreme Court repealed PASPA before they could offer sports wagers. Hollywood Casino launched a sportsbook in November 2018. SugarHouse and Rivers Casino launched sports betting in December 2018. Parx Casino, Harrah’s Philadelphia, and South Philadelphia Turf Club launched in January 2019. Valley Forge Sportsbook opened in March 2019.
May 2019 | Pennsylvania Online Sportsbooks Launch
PA online sportsbooks soon launched. SugarHouse Sportsbook launched in May 2019. Rivers Casino and Parx Casino sportsbooks launched in June 2019, while FanDuel Sportsbook launched in July 2019. Hollywood Casino, FoxBet, Caesars, William Hill, and DraftKings all plan a launch later in 2019.
Pennsylvania passed legal sports betting in October 2018 at the same time it passed regulated online casinos, online poker sites, daily fantasy sports, and VLTs at truck stops. Since then, seven sportsbooks began operations, led by Parx Casino near Philadelphia. Also, six sports betting apps launched last year: SugarHouse Sportsbook PA in May 2019, Rivers Sportsbook in June 2019, FanDuel Sportsbook PA in July 2019, Fox Bet in September 2019, and both Unibet and DraftKings Sportsbook in November 2019.
SugarHouse is powered by Rush Street Interactive and Kambi. DraftKings is tied to The Meadows Racetrack & Casino, while FanDuel is licensed through Valley Forge Casino Resort. BetRivers is associated with Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, while Unibet is tied to Mohegan Sun Pocono. Parx Sportsbooks partners witha GAN and Kambi for sports betting. It is likely William Hill, Hollywood Sportsbook, and Caesars Sportsbook eventually will offer PA sports betting apps.
Pennsylvania Online Gambling FAQS
Yes. The Pennsylvania Gambling Control Board spent most of 2018 licensing online sportsbooks. The major land-based casinos launched online sportsbooks and sports betting apps throughout the summer of 2019. A total of 8 legal and licensed online bookmakers operate in Pennsylvania.
The best offshore online sportsbook for Pennsylvania gamblers is Bovada. Bovada features a $250 welcome bonus for first depositors. It also features a large slate of NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and NCAA bets. If you prefer live betting, Bovada has a dedicated page full of up-to-the-minute live betting odds.
Yes. An October 2017 law regulated online casinos in Pennsylvania. Any legal land-based casino or racetrack had the opportunity to buy an online casino, poker, or sportsbook license. Most took the opportunity. Casino sites cost $7.5 million, while poker sites cost another $2.5 million. A sports betting license cost $10 million.
Our recommended offshore online casino for Pennsylvania gamblers is Cafe Casino. Those who make a first deposit at Cafe Casino receive a 500%, $5000 welcome bonus. Those who loves progressive slots can play top games like A Night With Cleo, Dirty Martini, Fast & Sexy, and Samurai’s Path. Table game gamblers have their choice of multiple variants of blackjack, baccarat, and roulette. If you prefer novel games, try Spin The Wheel, Roll The Dice, Teen Patti, or Andar Bahar. The live dealer games at Cafe Casino feature European Roulette, American Roulette, Live Baccarat, Super 6, Live Dealer Blackjack, and Early Payout Blackjack.
Yes. Not only do Hollywood Casino, SugarHouse Casino, Parx Casino, and others have legal online card rooms, but international online poker operators like PokerStars, 888poker, and GAN partner with land-based casinos to offer Pennsylvanians poker betting from the best brands. A total of legal 7 online poker rooms are active.
Ignition Poker is the best online poker site for Pennsylvania poker players who choose the unregulated gaming market. Ignition is top 3 in terms of the number of US poker players. It has $2500 freerolls, $150K guaranteed poker tournaments, sit-and-go events, jackpot SNG’s, and monster stack poker tournaments. In all, the poker platform includes $1.5 million per week in guaranteed prize pools. If you prefer the regulated gaming market, choose from among top options like Mount Airy Casino’s PokerStars cardroom or the 888 poker app for Android and iOS, which is associated with Harrah’s Philadelphia.
Yes. Pennsylvania players currently can play at 8 licensed online casinos, 7 licensed online cardrooms, and 8 licensed online sportsbooks. If they don’t like the selection, bettors also can play at offshore online casinos, poker rooms, and sportsbooks.
The minimum gambling age is 18 for lotto betting, bingo games, and pari-mutuel wagering (horse and dog betting). The legal age is 21 for land-based casinos and the slot machines racinos. VLTs have the same age limit of 21 years.
Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board
Pennlive: Internet-based Casino Games Are Set to Start in Pennsylvania July 15
The Philadelphia Inquirer: Pennsylvania iGaming Reports Initial Results
PGCB Annual Report