Pennsylvania Online Casinos Finally Hit The Market After Lengthy Wait

Posted on July 15, 2019 - Last Updated on November 20, 2019

The wait is over: Online casinos have finally gone live in Pennsylvania.

More than 620 days have passed since Gov. Tom Wolf signed a bill to legalized online gambling in the Keystone State. And 20 months later, Pennsylvania, at long last, has rolled out the first products.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) on Monday began testing online casinos from Hollywood Casino and Parx Casino. Hollywood, based in Grantville, soft-launched at 11 a.m., and Parx, out of Bensalem, followed suit soon after.

These first online casinos feature slots and table games and are available only on Android and desktop for the time being. The public, however, will have to wait longer for online poker to debut in Pennsylvania.

Hollywood Casino is again first on the PA scene

In November 2018, Hollywood opened Pennsylvania’s first retail sportsbook. More than a year after the state legalized wagering, Hollywood broke the PA sports betting mold.

Once again, the Grantville property will be a trendsetter.

Partnered with IGT, a major player in online slot games, Hollywood Online Casino features an array of titles. Notable IGT games that might be expected via the Hollywood online casino include:

  • Wolf Run
  • Wheel of Fortune games
  • Cleopatra
  • Double Diamond
  • Golden Goddess
  • Elephant King

While it is physically located just outside Harrisburg, Hollywood does not enjoy a metropolitan audience such as competitors in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Fortunately, Hollwyood’s online casino allows it to expand its reach in the state.

Additionally, the casino goes taps into the online market for the first time. Hollywood has yet to launch a betting app, although Penn National, which owns Hollywood, has plans to roll out an online sportsbook powered by partner William Hill.

What Hollywood is offering

Upon soft launch, Hollywood Online Casino featured 40 slot titles alongside Game King video poker (with nine different versions of the game) and baccarat.

The online casino, however, does not offer progressive slot jackpots, though it does have a wide selection of popular games. Included:

  • Wolf Run
  • Crown of Egypt
  • Siberian Storm
  • Wheel of Fortune: Triple Extreme Play

Obviously Hollywood Online Casino is still in its infancy, but it does not boast popular table games such as blackjack and roulette or even craps or live dealer casino games. Perhaps later on, however, these games will reach the online casino as the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approves them.

Big $25 bonus available for simply signing up

With online casino’s making their debut in Pennsylvania, Hollywood is offering quite the lure for new customers.

The online casino is promoting a $25 no-deposit bonus for patrons who create new accounts through Hollywood. Simply register and the reward will appear in the Bonus Balance.

The bonus is “non-cashable,” per the online casino. Players must wager all $25 at some point, and any winnings from the bonus is eligible to be withdrawn. The bonus must be used within 180 days.

Parx countdown comes to a close

A week ago, a bit of a surprise came about.

For several weeks, July 15 stood as a target date for Pennsylvania’s first online casinos. But during that time, few (if any) details emerged regarding the likelihood of that timeline holding up.

Then, a countdown clock was discovered on the Parx website.

Just below a live timer literally counting down the seconds until launch, Parx noted that starting July 15 “you will be able to make casino or sports wagers from your desktop or mobile device from anywhere in Pennsylvania!”

Indeed Parx has a large list of offerings. And now the property’s online casino complements its betting app, which went live at the end of June.

What to play at Parx

The casino’s website publicized that customers will have access to “hundreds of online slots” within the Parx online casino.

Upon soft launch, types of games included:

  • Slots
  • Blackjack
  • Roulette (American and European)
  • Video poker
  • Baccarat

In leading up to the soft launch, Parx teased that its online casino would also feature craps and live dealer games. For now, Parx, like Hollywood, does not offer progressive slot jackpots.

As for slots, Parx offers many of the same titles as Hollywood. Some unique games, however, include:

  • China Shores
  • Wolf Cub
  • Night Survivor
  • Carnival in Rio

Promos at Parx

Parx offers two deposit promotions for first-time users, one for the online casino and one for its sports betting app, which launched in June.

Its online casino will match any first deposit up to $500. The bonus, it should be noted, comes with a 20X playthrough requirement. For those unfamiliar, such a stipulation means that players must log a certain amount of playing time before the bonus becomes available for cash-out.

For slots, the playthrough sits at 20X. For roulette, on the other hand, a 40X playthrough requirement is necessary. Blackjack, baccarat and video poker, meanwhile, carry 100X playthrough requirements.

As for Parx sports betting, new users can receive a $250 risk-free bet with a first deposit of at least $10. A losing wager will be refunded by Parx up to $250. That payback must be wagered at least once before customers can withdraw.

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Finally, the long wait for Pennsylvania online casinos is over

When SugarHouse Sportsbook unveiled Pennsylvania’s first betting app (followed a month later by BetRivers and Parx), over a year and a half had passed since Wolf legalized expanding gaming.

These betting apps seemed long overdue. So understand how much relief is felt now that online casinos are going live.

Now, a border war commences between the two of the only three states with legalized and active online casinos: Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

If New Jersey is any indication, this region certainly has an appetite for online gambling.

Garden State online casinos are nearing $40 million in monthly gross revenue. They reported over $38 million in each of the past two months and reached as high as $39.1 million in March.

How Pennsylvania will fare will obviously take more waiting to determine. Until then…

Grant Lucas Avatar
Written by
Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sports writer who has covered the high school, collegiate and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield and Oregon State athletics, the Portland Trail Blazers and golf throughout his career.

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