Pennsylvania Online Gambling

Learn when Pa Online Sports Betting, Online Casino & Poker will launch

Legal online gambling options in PA

Pennsylvania is the fourth state to legalize online gambling. Online casinos and poker will launch sometime in mid-2019.

By virtue of H 271, the Pennsylvania Legislature authorized the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) to begin licensing operators for online slot games, online table games, and online poker.

Current status

According to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, the first online casinos will launch in the state on July 15, 2019.

The exact identit(ies) of the launching casinos remain unknown at this time, but Pennsylvanians’ long wait for gaming on their mobile devices is drawing to a close.

Online sports betting is approaching even more quickly than that. Sources near the gaming board indicate that the first online sportsbook will launch sometime in May 2019.

So, even with the Wire Act in everyone’s face, it appears that Pennsylvania’s operators are moving forward with their plans.

The Pennsylvania casinos

Pennsylvania is currently home to 12 land-based casinos. 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 Borgata, 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:

PropertyOnline PartnerOnline Casino?Online PokerOnline Sports Betting
Lady Luck Casino at Nemacolin Woodlands Resortn/aNoNoNo
Meadows Casinon/aNoNoNo
Rivers Casinon/aNoNoYes
Harrah's Philadelphia888YesYesYes
Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race CourseIGTYesYesYes
Mohegan Sun CasinoKindredYesYesYes
Mount Airy Casino888/PokerStarsYesYesYes
Parx CasinoGANYesYesYes
Presque Isle Downs CasinoGolden NuggetYesNoYes
Sands Bethlehem (soon to be Wind Creek Casino and Resort)None confirmedYesYesNo
SugarHouse CasinoRush Street Interactive/KambiYesYesYes
Valley Forge CasinoIGT/GANYesYesYes
Stadium CasinoNone confirmedYesNoNo
MGMbwin.partyYesYesn/a
Golden NuggetNYXYesNon/a

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Sports betting in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania became the seventh state to offer sports betting to residents and visitors in November 2018. The Keystone State is now the most populous state to host sportsbooks inside their borders.

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

Retail sportsbooks

There are currently eight active retail sportsbooks in the state. They are:

A ninth sportsbook, at Presque Isle Downs Casino, should open sometime in April 2019.

PA online betting apps

Online sports betting will launch in May 2019.

Each of the seven 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 five PA casinos (and the in-progress Stadium Casino project) can apply for the $10 million sports betting license at any time.

PA Lottery bonus code

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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 of the 13 casino licensees in Pennsylvania had the option to launch online slot games, online table games, and online poker.

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:

  • Harrah’s Philadelphia
  • Hollywood Casino
  • Parx
  • Mount Airy
  • Sands Bethlehem
  • Stadium
  • Valley Forge
  • SugarHouse

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:

Category 1: Racinos

Category 2: Standalone casinos

Category 3: Resort casinos

PA daily fantasy sports

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:

  • Boom Fantasy
  • DRAFT
  • DraftKings
  • FanDuel
  • FantasyDraft
  • Fantasy Football Players Championship
  • FastPick
  • Sports Hub
  • Scout Fantasy Sports
  • Yahoo Fantasy

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.

PA mini-casinos

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

Permitted/Offered? Notes & Restrictions
Land-Based Gambling Yes At present, 12 licensed casinos operate in the state.
Online Gambling Yes Legislation passed in October 2017
Lottery Yes Options include Pennsylvania State Lottery and multi-state Powerball and Mega Millions drawings.
Charitable or House-Based Gambling Yes
Minimum Gambling Age 18 for pari-mutuel, horseracing, lottery, and DFS; 21 for casinos and online gambling
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