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Pennsylvania Online Gambling – Sports Betting & Poker Sites

Last Updated: October 18, 2019

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.

This guide to PA online gambling features this new era of gaming for Pennsylvania. Our reviewers discusses the best online casinos, sportsbooks, and poker sites 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’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.

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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.

Yes. State leaders have legalized most forms of betting in PA. Land-based PA casino have a full range of slot machines, table games, video poker, and bingo gaming. A few racetracks operate as racinos, but also offer pari-mutuel wagering, simulcasting, and OTB services. Sportsbooks are opening throughout 2019. Interactive gaming also launched in June 2019.

Since House Bill 271 passed into law in October 2017, Pennsylvania allows sports betting, online poker, online casinos, daily fantasy sports, airport tablet computer gambling, and video lottery terminals. VLTs were limited to truck stops across Pennsylvania. Each truck stop can have up to 5 video lottery terminals, which are similar to slot machines.

Parx Casino in Bensalem has an online casino, sportsbook, and poker site.

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? – Notes & Restrictions
  • Online Gambling – Yes – Online gambling legalized in 2017, launching in 2018-2019.
  • Land-Based Casinos – Yes – 6 casinos, 6 racinos, and 5 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, pari-mutuel bets. 21 for land-based casinos and racinos.

Is Online Poker Legal in Pennsylvania?

Yes, online poker in PA is legal, like in New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed a bill into law making online poker legal. Poker brands like PokerStars and 888 Poker have deals with local land-based casinos (in this case Mount Airy Casino & Resort).

888 also has a deal with Harrah’s in Philadelphia, as it 888 and Caesars Entertainment properties often do. Hollywood Casino (Penn National Gaming) is partnered with IGT, while Mohegan Sun Pocono is linked to Scientific Games’s TBD. Presque Isle works with SBTech, while Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh and SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia work with Rush Street Interactive (which owns SugarHouse). Parx Casino works with GAN and Kambi, while Sands Bethlehem has a deal with TBD. Valley Forge Casino has an ambitious partnership with IGT, GAN, GVC Holdings, and Party Poker. The upcoming Stadium Casino has no deal yet, but will in time.

Pennsylvania Online Poker Laws

Name of Bill – Year Submitted – Lawmaker – Supported – Opposed
  • House Bill 271 – 2017 – Joe Scarnatti – Mike Turzai, Tom Wolf – Republican backbenchers, though GOP leaders backed it.

SugarHouse Casino, famous for its New Jersey online casino, hosts a full land-based sportsbook in Philadelphia.

Is Sports Betting / Daily Fantasy Sports Legal in Pennsylvania?

Yes, sports betting also is legal in Pennsylvania. HB 271 that legalized online gambling also legalized sportsbooks, which became effective after the US Supreme Court repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). HB 271 also legalized daily fantasy sports. The sports betting industry is expected to generate $200 million a year in tax revenues for Pennsylvania, while DraftKings and Fanduel should generate another $5 million in taxes.

SugarHouse Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook are sports betting operators in Pennsylvania. So are Stars Group, 888sports, and William Hill.

Does Pennsylvania have land-based casinos?

Yes, Pennsylvania has 6 land-based casinos and 6 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 5 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.

CASINOS

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 & Location Racino Details
Parx Casino | Bensalem Race Book, 3,330 Machines, 45 Poker Tables, 128 Tables
Harrah’s Philadelphia | Chester Race Book, 2,448 Machines, 28 Poker Tables, 79 Tables
Presque 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 Tables, 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 BOOKS

 

Race Book Name Location
Northeast Turf Club Philadelphia
South Philadelphia Turf Club Philadelphia
Meadows Harmer Township OTB Pittsburgh
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.

OFF-TRACK BETTING

Race Book 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 HALLS

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 140 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.

Pennsylvania Gambling Law FAQ

Read our Pennsylvania gaming law Q&A for quick reference. These are answers to some frequently asked questions.

Are online casinos legal in Pennsylvania?

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.

Are online sportsbooks legal in Pennsylvania?

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.

Are online poker rooms legal in Pennsylvania?

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.

Will I go to jail for gambling online in Pennsylvania?

No. Pennsylvania players currently can play legally at 8 online casinos, 7 online cardrooms, and 8 online sportsbooks.

What is the legal gambling age in Pennsylvania?

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.

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.

Sources

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

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