Best Pennsylvania Online Casinos

With a population of over 12 million people, the most populated state to keep an open mind towards American online gambling, Pennsylvania is making spectacular strides in this domain. Already being open to the prospect of classic casino gambling state-wide, with some land-based casinos functioning for some time now, the latest regulatory measure taken by lawmakers, was to set up a licensing system for a limited number of best PA online casinos. The already famous bill has passed and the time has come to start the endeavour and collect the spoils. If you want to play online casino, check out our list of offshore casino below.

flagBest Pennsylvania Online Casino Sites

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144 voted
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410 voted
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264 voted
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325 voted
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187 voted
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111 voted
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392 voted
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Gambling Laws in Pennsylvania

Context

Not that long ago, the regulations in the US on gambling were a hazy, tangled mess filled with confusion and different interpretations of the same law. The general feeling was against offering too much liberty to this sort of activity. Pennsylvania gaming laws made no exception to the rule. However, in the last couple of decades, things have started moving forward, against all previous prejudices. The new technological advancement, the experience of the braver states which legalized wagering earlier, along with the prospects of new and important potential revenues, made many states reconsider their previous stance on the matter.

Making Nevada’s and New Jersey’s longtime experiences into case studies, they analyzed the implications and reopened debate on regulating gambling. Thus, having seen where things were poorly managed, where the initial analysis didn’t match the reality in the market or the clients’ psychology and where the real success stories resided, Pennsylvania managed to put together regulations on casino wagering, followed by a gambling expansion bill and going to the most recent development, the legalization of Pennsylvania online casinos, that we are going to detail in what follows.

Brief History of PA Gambling Laws

welcome to pennsylvaniaRegarding the regulation of gambling, Pennsylvania was not that receptive in its early history, the same way Nevada or New Jersey, states with a long tradition, have been. The first of PA gambling laws appeared in 1959 and referred to on-site horse racing bets. The 1971 bill came along with the addition of state lottery to the list of accepted betting options.

Following this breakthrough, there was an intense push for casinos during the ’80s and ’90s. State officials were checking out the success Nevada was scoring and the additional money that came into the budget and wanted to record the same incomes. The majority of population though, only saw the dark side of this story and considering that gambling will only increase the corruption and criminality rate, have repeatedly shut down polls, referendums and any other sort of attempt at legalizing state-wide betting.

PA lawmakers took the big step towards the current situation all the way up in 2004, along with the passing of Act 71 which legalizes both casinos and racetracks between state borders. This law was considered an immense triumph, seeing how, in the first year since its passing, seven land-based casinos paid 766 million USD in taxes, towards the local budget. More so, even though other states have a higher number of casinos, Pennsylvania managed to become in 2009 the second state, after Nevada, in a ranking based on gambling revenues.

Of course, that all this extra money hasn’t gone unnoticed and regulators decided to push things even further, in a market that hasn’t reached its top potential yet. Additional gambling expansion laws were passed. In 2017 a plan to expand gambling locations to truck stops, airports and Internet portals has been put in motion. And this takes us to the heart of the matter where PA online casinos take centre stage.

iGaming Law of 2017

A More Detailed Situation

2017 found the state budget with a deficit of around 2 billion USD and a stringent need to find a fast solution for additional funding, in order to keep that large amount deficit in check. After a thorough analysis, the answer became clear and Pennsylvania Internet gambling laws came to life. Implementing this strategy was based on a couple of facts:

  • The 2004 bill allowed casinos to activate within state boundaries and meant a considerable sum of tax money collected regularly.
  • Before issuing the concept of online casino, PA legislators shaped an expansion plan for gambling which included some interesting points. The main idea was to spread the use of PA slot machines, in particular, seeing how they are a very popular betting game in this state. The fact that they are taxed with the staggering rate of 54% of the device’s winnings meant a larger sum is going into the budget’s safe. Long story short, the bill stipulates that truck stops are allowed hosting a small number of slots. Also, satellite casinos, which hold no more than 750 slot machines, are to start their activity in the near future. And of course, the online casinos, which offer as their main games, various versions of slots.
  • Getting a piece of an untapped market, with a new category of paying customers and furthermore, in a domain where lawmakers were already one foot through the door. Also, the previous experience of Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware, the other states that regulated online wagering had made for a great case study.

Surely, the state of Pennsylvania received another lucky break, after the Supreme Court decided in 2018 the non-constitutionality of the infamous PASPA law, making the decision of allowing sports are betting, a stateside matter. Seeing how the bill for the gambling expansion had already passed and the building of the infrastructure was already put in motion, it was swiftly regulated that sports betting to be also accepted.

Licensing

An issue carefully threaded with was the situation of licensing for the soon-to-be-created online casinos. It was stated in the new PA gambling bill that each of the 13 land-based casinos state-wide, had the option of entering the deal for an online casino license. Licenses were differentiated in three categories, seeing how a PA online casino could include virtual games of slots, table games, poker or a combination of them. Therefore, there was a different license for each type of game, each going for the price of 4 million dollars, with an overall package of 10 million USD that included all.

The first bid has seen eight operators going for the complete offer. Some changed their decision on one or two options, other entered the bid later, but in conclusion out of the 13 official casinos in Pennsylvania list, only three set aside, without a single type of license. The others divided their licensing agreements: 6 casinos owning the right to offer online poker and 10 that wanted to go big on slots and table games.

After the first wave, the remaining licenses, have been auctioned to those outside the state willing to buy. Only two entities purchased them: MGM through Borgata acquired the whole package, while Golden Nugget only went for table gaming and slot machines.

The moment of launch has been postponed several times. All the casinos are ready to deploy, but the latest development with the rebuffing of PASPA, has put everyone on hold, waiting to see how it all works out in the end and the impact it’ll have on their activities.

Customers and Social Responsibility

Selecting the customers for these state-based online casinos undergoes a couple of restrictions. First is the mandatory compliance of the minimum required age for gambling in Pennsylvania, is set at the low limit of 21 years old.

The other restriction regards the whereabouts of these sites’ customers, which is obligatory to be within state boundaries. The location of playing customers is set to be known at all times by the casino operators via geo-location software, active in mobile apps, as well.

From a social responsibility point of view, the sites are going to display links towards resources that alert on the dangers of becoming an addict. Also, they’ll state limitations on the amount wagered, the amounts lost, or the gameplay consecutive hours. Also, an interesting aspect, players themselves can ask for a ban from the casino for a period of time.

Allowed Games and Perspectives

Online Poker

This debate has become somewhat of a sensitive subject, aspect seen in the fact that not every Pennsylvania online casino opted for the online poker license. The first question mark appeared when the Department of Justice, under the protection of the Federal Wire Act, reckoned that interstate liquidity might be illegal. This directly affects a potential liquidity pact between the common operators in all four states which allow online betting in poker games. This and the fact that the online poker market has seen a constant decrease in revenues, makes operators wonder if PA online gambling market can support a high number of virtual poker rooms, on its own. However, the poker sites are designed to have the grand opening mid-2019, same time as the official Internet casinos. You can find the best brands there like Bovada which is legal in PA.

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Online Slots

As mentioned before, PA online gaming stage has chosen its favourite game, from the player’s point of view and more so from the state’s, given the huge taxes it inflicts upon the profits from this sort of wagering.

Table Games

These have been favoured by many casinos with ten licenses being purchased by local establishments. PA online gambling has had a taste of blackjack and roulette, the table games permitted, as mentioned in the wagering law, but there is room for improvement.

Online Sports Betting

The field of online gambling in PA has welcomed open-hearted the decision which made the regulation of sports betting an intern decision between state’s lawmakers. Many PA top casinos and every Pennsylvania online casino, as well, have already set local bookmaker operators. There is also in progress the development of mobile apps for players to access live odds, along with classic betting on sports.

Daily fantasy sports is another category that PA online gaming hasn’t left out in the open, but included in the legislation and in the offer of Internet wagering establishment.

Online lottery

One of few states that offer both versions of the lottery, in both land-based casinos and in virtual form. Regarding online lottery, PA offers at the moment only scratch-off games, making it possible for other expansions in the future.

FAQ
Is gambling in Pennsylvania state legit?

Yes. Pennsylvania gambling laws have been in effect for quite some time now, the state boasts with its land-based casinos and its liberal view on gambling.

Is online gambling in Pennsylvania legal?

Online gambling is also legal. This is where the liberal view on online gambling Pennsylvania prides with comes in the spotlight. The 2017 law on the expansion of gambling has legalized online wagering and has created the premises for developing online casinos.

What is the legal gambling age in Pennsylvania?

When it comes to gambling, PA holds the same age requirements as the other US states: 18 for lottery and 21 for all other games.

Is access to online gambling restricted only to the state-based sites?

It’s somewhat the other way around. If a player wants to access online casinos PA-based, that player needs to find himself within Pennsylvania boundaries. But not every resident is obligated to access these sites. There are plenty other websites with similar offers out there that can be accessed, no questions asked.

Can I withdraw money only if I live in PA?

Only accessing PA online casinos is restricted to people in-state. The withdrawals can be made using all classic methods for any other casino-type website: cards, e-wallets, bank transfers, checks, wire transfers and so on.

Any possible future laws to restrict online gambling?

None at the horizon. US laws regarding the subject undergo a continuous transformation, and other interpretations might appear. But regarding the view of lawmakers on online gambling in PA, things are going 100 percent in the direction of development of such activities, with multimillion dollars investments that no one wants to have been in vain.

Additional Sources:

https://whyy.org/articles/amid-pa-gambling-expansion-questions-arise-about-federal-laws/
https://www.philly.com/news/trump-justice-department-adelson-casts-internet-mobile-gaming-in-doubt-20190202.html