Learn when Pa Online Sports Betting, Online Casino & Poker will launch
Legal gambling options in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is home to many forms of legal gambling including sports betting and the Pennsylvania iLottery, and physical casinos. Pennsylvania is second only to Nevada when it comes to state revenue from casinos.
Online sports betting should launch in May 2019. Online casinos will roll out in July 2019.
Horse racing and off-track betting are also popular in Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) decreed that sports betting revenue is to be taxed at one of the highest percentages in the country. The taxation breaks down as follows:
34 percent on gross gaming revenue
.25 percent on handle for a federal excise tax
2 percent for local revenue share
PA online sports betting apps
Online sports betting will launch in May 2019.
Each of the eight licensed casinos has the ability to offer online wagering along with a retail sportsbook. The two turf clubs, which are off-track betting parlors, operate under the Parx license. As such, they will not offer their own mobile betting apps.
The remaining four PA casinos (and the in-progress Stadium Casino project) can apply for the $10 million sports betting license at any time.
There are currently eight active retail sportsbooks in the state. They are:
A 13th location, Stadium Casino, is under construction in the south part of Philadelphia. Its owners expect to open for business in 2020.
Not every one of these casinos will launch an online gambling offering. Some of them, particularly those with sister properties in-state, did not apply.
Additionally, two out-of-state companies, MGM and Golden Nugget, have received permission to apply for licensing. So, here is a look at who the players will be when it comes to PA online gambling, including who their partners are:
Online Sports Betting
Lady Luck Casino at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort
Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course
Mohegan Sun Casino
Mount Airy Casino
Presque Isle Downs Casino
Sands Bethlehem (soon to be Wind Creek Casino and Resort)
Register for a new account and get $5 free and a $100 bonus on first deposit.
Must be 18 and over and located in Pennsylvania.
Online casinos in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania has gone from a gambling wasteland to a gambling destination in 13 short years. Casinos only began popping up in 2006, but the state has quickly grown to be the second-highest grossing casino economy in the country behind only Nevada. Plus, online casinos are set to launch in 2019.
Each license came with a $4 million licensing fee. However, in the initial offering during the summer of 2018, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) offered a package of all three interactive gaming licenses for $10 million total.
Eight operators took the board’s bundle offer. They are:
Initially, Rivers Casino also took the deal. However, it later rescinded its application, due to the active application at sister property SugarHouse Casino.
Mohegan Sun Pocono missed the deadline for the discount, but apparently, still wanted to offer all three types of gaming. So, it paid the full $12 million to apply. However, the group later decided to drop the online poker application, resulting in a $4 million refund.
Later, Presque Isle Downs Casino applied for permission to offer online slots and online table games. About the same time, Stadium Casino rescinded its application to provide online poker.
Once the dust settled, there were:
10 table game and casino license holders
6 online poker licenses
3 casinos staying offline (The Meadows, Lady Luck Nemacolin, Rivers)
12 remaining interactive licenses
Qualified gaming entities
None of the other casino interests in Pennsylvania appeared interested in applying for the remaining license spots. As a result, the PGCB found itself with 13 interactive licenses to spare (3 slots, 3 table games, 6 poker).
So, the board began to allow operators outside of PA to submit applications for certification. An approved application would allow the operator to be designated a qualified gaming entity, and thus qualify the operator to apply for the remaining online gaming licenses. In order to be a qualified gaming entity, the applicant must be up and running in at least one regulated gaming market.
The only two operators to step forward were MGM Resorts (under its Borgata brand) and Golden Nugget. MGM hopes to obtain all three interactive licenses, and Golden Nugget seeks online slots and table games licenses.
Timeframe for launch
The first online casino apps in Pennsylvania will launch on July 15, 2019.
Sources at the PGCB have confirmed that the online casino operators are moving forward, regardless of the Wire Act’s potential impact. The identity of the first casinos to launch is still unknown, but there will be online casino gambling in the Keystone State before the end of the summer.
Commercial casinos and racetracks in Pennsylvania
There are now 12 casino locations open for business in Pennsylvania. The 2004 law categorizes as Category 1, 2, or 3 casinos, based upon their amenities and scopes. They are:
Daily fantasy sports, or DFS, has been regulated in Pennsylvania since 2017. The change was part of the same bill that allowed online gambling and poker. Moreover, after the Supreme Court ruled against the federal ban on sports betting in the New Jersey sports betting case, Pennsylvania was able to apply for legal wagering at the casinos and racetracks in the Keystone State.
The first DFS site launched in May 2018. Since then, nine more sites have gotten their licenses and opened for business. They are:
Fantasy Football Players Championship
Scout Fantasy Sports
DFS’s tax rate is vastly lower than that of sports betting. DFS pays only 15 percent of revenue in taxes, less than half of the 36 percent that sports betting must pay.
The next wave of casino properties that will open (aside from Stadium Casino) will be Category 4 casinos. These casinos, authorized by a gambling expansion in 2017, will also be known as “mini-casinos.”
These so-called mini-casinos are only permitted to host a maximum of 750 slot machines and 30 table games. Mini-casinos must also operate far enough from existing casinos that they don’t steal any business.
The law provides for up to 10 Category 4 casino locations. However, potential operators have only applied for 5 of them so far, and it seems unlikely that more applications are to follow.
So, these are the five locations with planned mini-casinos. They are (with the site’s owner in parenthesis):
York (Penn National)
Greensburg (Stadium Casino LLC)
Big Beaver (Mount Airy)
Shippensburg (Parx Casino)
Morgantown (Penn National)
There are no firm opening dates for any of these Category 4 locations. You can keep track of the specifics of each mini-casino auction on our sister site, PlayPennsylvania.
PA online lottery
The online lottery is a state-run piece of gambling expansion. The Pennsylvania Lottery already offers lottery tickets for popular drawings like Powerball and Mega Millions at hundreds of retailers across the state.
Like online casinos, participants do not have to be Pennsylvania residents to play the PA iLottery . However, they must be physically within the state’s borders. Players must also be at least 18 years old.
Currently, the only online games available online are instant games, which are essentially online scratch-off games. There is potential for more games in the future though.
In May, the Lottery began to offer the monitor game Keno. Later, on Aug. 16, the Pennsylvania Lottery launched the sports-betting variant Xpress Sports virtual sports on its land-based video lottery terminals (VLTs). These machines simulate a fake race with animation, allowing players to bet in advance on the results.
The Lottery Commission does not plan to offer virtual sports online at launch, but it is possible the concept may go online in the future.
PA gambling at a glance
Pennsylvania is the up-and-comer in the gambling market, operating casinos, a lottery, and offering both onsite and OTB wagering on horse races. And, as of October 2017, online gambling is legal in Pennsylvania.
Legal gaming began in Pennsylvania in 2004, allowing slot parlors to operate virtual lottery terminals (VLTs), which are centralized slots. Six years later the state expanded licensing to include poker. Currently, there are 12 casinos throughout the state offering over 25,000 slots and 300 poker tables.
Horse racing takes place at only two tracks, but wagering is available onsite and at off-track betting (OTB) venues.
In October 2017, Pennsylvania became the fourth state in the US to allow online gambling. Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law an expansive gaming package that will authorize online slots, online poker, online table games, daily fantasy sports, sports betting, VGTs, and more.
The market for legal online gambling is expected to go live in 2019. The first new market was the PA online lottery, which launched in May.
PA Legal Gambling Overview
Notes & Restrictions
At present, 12 licensed casinos operate in the state.
Legislation passed in October 2017
Options include Pennsylvania State Lottery and multi-state Powerball and Mega Millions drawings.
Charitable or House-Based Gambling
Minimum Gambling Age
18 for pari-mutuel, horseracing, lottery, and DFS; 21 for casinos and online gambling