PA Online Casino and Gambling
The legalisation of online casino gaming, poker play and sports betting has really opened up across an increasing number of US states in recent years, giving players and punters lots more choice when it comes to where and how they can play games and bet on sports. This is great news, of course, especially if you reside in Pennsylvania since this state legalized all three activities in 2019.
So what are the best online casinos that you, as a Pennsylvania resident, are permitted to join to play games for real money?
PA iLottery Casino: An online branch of the same Pennsylvania Lottery that was established in 1972, the PA iLottery offers a range of draw and instant win style games that give players the chance to both win large sums of cash but also help their local community as a proportion of the proceeds at the site are dedicated to supporting older Pennsylvanians by funding relevant services.
- Is there an app? Yes;
- Is there a sign-up bonus? Yes;
- Is there a sportsbook? No;
- Land-based partner: PA Lottery.
Full PA iLottery casino review.
BetRivers Casino One of the first to launch an online version of its popular land-based casino, BetRivers Casino brings Pennsylvania players a wide range of slots and table games to enjoy, as well as the option to easily bet on sports if desired.
- Is there an app? Yes;
Is there a sign-up bonus? Yes;
Is there a sportsbook? Yes;
Land-based partner: BetRivers Pittsburgh.
Full Full BetRivers casino review.
Like many other states, owning and operating an online gambling operation comes with tight restrictions and rules in order to prevent malicious practices and untrustworthy casinos. Pennsylvania-based casinos are allowed to operate online gambling services from their premises, provided they have been granted a licence by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. After the Pennsylvania gambling expansion, PA saw an amount of gambling taxes go into the coffers, freeing up millions in spending money on services within the state.
Is Online gambling legal in PA?
PA online gambling became fully legal and permitted as of the 30th of October 2017 by the signing of HB 271 by Governor Tom Wolf. This made Pennsylvania one of the four states to legalise online gambling activities. The other states that allow its residents to gamble at an online casino are Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware, with Pennsylvania being the latest addition to the list. However, it took a little while for companies to start offering online access to the casino and poker games and sports betting, but by the end of 2019, all three activities were online and legal for residents of the state. Online Casinos began appearing in 2018 when the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board started accepting online gaming licenses for casinos in PA.
Players who visit or play at licensed casinos will not be persecuted and will not face any legal action as long as they are of the legal gambling age and are players who reside within Pennsylvania. By meeting these two criteria, players are free to sign up at any of the state-owned casinos or other foreign-owned online casinos that accept players from Pennsylvania. With the bill being passed, access to online slots, online poker, table games, daily fantasy sports and much more has become increasingly more user-friendly.
Online Poker in Pennsylvania
While online poker in the state got off to a slow start, it is now well established with some big names currently holding a license to operate in the area. Since one requirement of the legislation dictated that online gambling operations were only to be set up by those with a local connection, many land-based operators quickly realised that partnering with well-established and experienced online brands was the best way to extend their reach and enter the online market. The resultant surge in online poker rooms permitting Pennsylvania players gives residents not only the option of playing poker online but also a good range of sites to choose from too.
Sports Betting In Pennsylvania
The option of online sports betting in Pennsylvania was opened up when the Supreme Court deemed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 unconstitutional in May of 2018. Starting with the land-based operators in the state, licenses were issued to those who wanted to offer sports betting, provided they enforced the stipulated age limit and paid their fair share of taxes on the resulting profits. As a result, many of the familiar land-based casinos launched not only an online casino arm of their brand but also the option to bet on sports too, often on the very same site.
Lotteries In Pennsylvania
As in many US states, lotteries are not new to Pennsylvania, having been around since 1972. But the option to play Pennsylvania lotteries online is indeed relatively new, with sites offering such options only coming online in June 2018. The benefits of playing lotteries via an online site include not having to go to your nearest shop to buy tickets, but many of these sites also offer other games, such as instant win games, that give you a new way to play and win beyond the regular draw based options of typical lottery play. The state-draws available include Pick 2, Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5, Treasure Hunt, Cash 5, and Match 6, as well as the multi-state games Cash4Life, Mega Millions, and Powerball.
Regulation Board in Pennsylvania
All state-wide casino operations, whether that be lotteries, sportsbooks, online casino or land-based casino are regulated and audited by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. This governmental agency was founded in 2004 and tasked to oversee all state licensing and regulations of slot machines and casino gambling taking place within the borders of the state.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board hands out licences according to four different categories:
- Category 1: Horse race track casinos (racinos), these are race tracks where players can bet on races as well as play slot machines.
- Category 2: Stand-alone casinos. There are privately-owned land-based casinos that need a licence in order to operate. All casinos can have a maximum amount of 5000 slot machines.
- Category 3: Resort casinos. Casino halls you will find at a resort within Pennsylvania. It needs to be noted that the maximum amount of table games a resort casino can have is 50 and the maximum amount of slots is 600 slot cabinets.
- Category 4: Satellite casinos. Small-scale gambling operations which are part of the mother company or casino.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is also devoted to assisting and guiding players who suffer from pathological or problem gambling. They make sure that all employees hired at an online casino have been trained to understand the effects of gambling and making sure casinos adhere to self-exclusion requests, as part of their responsible gambling strategy.
The PGCB also maintains a PA casino banned list, known as the Involuntary Exclusion List, where players who have broken rules or laws when in casinos have been banned permanently from any casinos in the state. More than half the people on the list have been placed there for theft or cheating. It's very clear that the PGCB takes safety and security and following the law very seriously.
How can I know which PA casinos are legal?
As a respected professional body, the PGCB is trusted to issue licenses and ensure the adherence of license holders to their regulations. This means that one of the first things you should look for when trying to determine the legitimacy of an online casino in terms of Pennsylvania regulations is a license issued by the PGCB.
Check the site's footer for the distinctive white and yellow logo displaying Responsible Gaming together with a white label showing Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board: Licensed and Regulated. Also displayed should be a record of the operator's license number together with details of the address of the issuing regulatory body (ie. the PGCB). If these are not displayed in the footer of the site in question, you can also check the site's About page.
We will only recommend casinos which are legal in Pennsylvania. If you find a new PA casino which we haven't recommended, always be sure to check for this accreditation before you register and play, as you should only play with very reputable casinos for your safety, and the safety or your money.
Minimum Legal Age To Gamble In Pennsylvania
One of the stipulated regulations that license holders must follow and enforce is the age limit. In a similar manner to land-based casinos, online casinos must not allow anyone under the age of 21 to register an account or play any of the games. This is in contrast to online poker, lotteries and sports betting sites that allow membership to anyone over 18.
Responsible operators enforce this minimum age rule by verifying the identity of their members. This usually involves requesting documentary proof of ID such as driver's license, social security number and other commonly used documents. If players are found to be in breach of the site's T&Cs, their account will be closed immediately, any winnings will not be paid and legal action may be taken.
Another crucial aspect of the regulation when it comes to Pennsylvania online casinos is determining the location of players. Only players located in Pennsylvania are permitted to play online casinos games and so as part of their regulatory responsibilities, online casinos are tasked with ensuring that this is the case.
While this is a very simple matter in the case of land-based casinos, where regulation is just a case of ensuring the players are of legal age, it's slightly harder to determine whether or not an online player is located in PA. Luckily, there's a very easy way of doing so and that is via IP addresses. While it isn't infallible, determining player location using an IP address is the easiest way for online casinos to meet this regulatory obligation, which is why you'll often be met with an error and blocked from accessing Pennsylvania-friendly online casinos if you're accessing these sites from outside of the state.
Bear in mind that if you want to play online casino games via your iPhone, you may be required to download and run a geolocation app that is used to determine your location before you'll be allowed to play any games.
Banned Casinos in Pennsylvania
While they are able to reapply at a later date, operators can have their license revoked if they are found to be flouting the stipulated regulations. Since these regulations stem directly from the Gaming Act, it is an offense to disobey them. The PGCB issues licenses that are valid for five years before they must be renewed, at which point they must show that they are in good financial stead, are fit for purpose and are still eligible for the license under the PGCB criteria.
Far from being full of hot air, it seems the PGCB is not afraid to put its foot down if license holders don't toe the line. Since the first in 2008, consent agreements have numbered 250 altogether, resulting in over $8.5 million in fines. The most common cause was allowing underage, excluded or self-excluded individuals onto casino premises, but other license violations also accounted for over $840,000 in fines. Examples include a PA casino that had to be moved into trusteeship after the criminal indictment of the owner, and a slot machine licence revocation after the owner failed to commence construction works after repeated extensions over the course of several years.
Online casinos offering membership to Pennsylvania players will quite often advertise bonuses as a way to encourage signups. What this means for you as a player, is the chance to get more funds to play with, which quite often means more chances to win! These bonuses often come in the form of a deposit bonus, such as the first deposit bonus, which gives you a percentage of whatever you choose to deposit for the first time in bonus money. Bonuses usually come with requirements that will dictate how much you have to deposit, how much money you need to play with, and on which games, before you can withdraw the bonus, and how long you have to do so. Claiming a bonus is usually a simple case of entering a bonus code when making your deposit.
What's particularly attractive about bonuses offered by Pennsylvania-facing online casinos at the moment is the wagering requirements are often far more lenient than those offered by other operators, so they are definitely worth checking out!
Types of PA Bonuses
So what kinds of bonuses can you expect to find at PA-friendly online casinos? The first bonus you're most likely to come across is the first deposit bonus. Also called the welcome bonus or sign-up bonus, this is an amount in bonus funds that the online casino will add to your account relative to whatever you decide to deposit. For example, a PA online casino may offer new members a 100% up to $250 bonus on your first deposit. So if you deposit $100, you'll also get a bonus of $100.
Since online casinos want players to keep on depositing, they will often offer other bonuses, such as regular reload bonuses that can be claimed on one or more deposits over the course of a week or month, or cashback bonuses that offer bonus money for playing certain games.
Pennsylvania Bonus Codes
As mentioned above, bonuses are quite often claimed using a bonus code. This is simply a short word, often including numbers, that the player then inputs in a corresponding box while making their deposit. This then flags the online casino system and awards the bonus to the player's account as long as the other requirements for claiming the bonus have been met.
Other requirements can include ensuring the deposit meets the minimum amount as stated in the bonus terms and conditions, using a specific deposit method, playing through the deposit amount a certain number of times before the bonus is released, and more. Before claiming any bonuses, be sure to check the T&Cs so you know what to expect and how to go about claiming the bonus.
There are certain requirements both as you deposit and afterwards that determine how much of the bonus you will get and if and when you can withdraw it as cash. One aspect of bonuses, specifically determining the release and withdrawal of the bonus, is determined by wagering requirements. Some online casinos require you to play through your deposit amount once or more before the bonus funds are added to your account and are available to play with. In this case, you might also find that only certain games will count towards this rollover.
What you will find with almost all bonuses is that you have to play through a set amount before you will be allowed to request a withdrawal of funds. This is really to prevent bonus abuse. It's quite common for the T&Cs to require that the bonus triggering deposit (and often the bonus amount too) is played through a certain number of times, sometimes on certain games, before withdrawing. Requesting a withdrawal without meeting these wagering requirements can result in account closure and forfeiture of your bonus and any associated winnings, so beware! Thus we highly recommend that you read the terms and conditions carefully prior to opting in for any kind of bonus or signing up to a casino.
Pennsylvania Online Casinos Payment Methods
One of the most important things you'll do when preparing to play at an online casino is to make your first deposit and there are a number of methods available that make this a very quick and easy process. Just as you'll find a variety of payment methods available in your local shopping mall or store, online casinos will also offer a selection of popular payment methods, making funding online casino gameplay accessible to all.
Amongst the various deposit methods available you can expect to see the usual collection of popular debit and credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard and Discover. You can also deposit to your online casino account via ACH Direct Transfer. Voucher and card systems such as Play+ and PayNearMe are also accepted, and you'll also quite often find online payment providers such as Paypal being offered too. Plus, since many land-based casinos have created an online branch, you can actually deposit money to your online casino account via the cashier cage at the casino! That's lots of options for players, making depositing very quick, easy and accessible.
Mobile Gaming in Pennsylvania
Along with the rise of online casinos in PA came the increase in mobile-friendly online casinos, where you can play a lot or sometimes all of the same games that appear on the online casino's website directly from your mobile phone or tablet. This can be done by designing a website that performs optimally regardless of the device that's used, or an entirely separate mobile casino site can be created. It's also not unusual to find separate Android and iOS online casino apps.
As previously mentioned, due to the tight regulations regarding geolocation and age limits, operators have to check the details of all new members joining their online casino. This is why you'll be asked for personal details, but it's also why you'll usually find an additional app that is designed to detect your location must be downloaded and run before you'll be allowed to play casino games.
Some of the sites have apps for you to play on the go, but it's possible that you might run into some technical difficulties on occasion. If so, check these:
Make sure that you have the most up-to-date version of the app installed on your phone.
Make sure that you are playing within Pennsylvania itself. You will only be able to place bets and play while you are within state lines.
If you are within PA and have the most up-to-date app but still have issues, contact the customer support of the casino in question.
Pennsylvania Casino Games
So what kind of games can you expect to find at these Pennsylvania-friendly online casinos and how do they compare to those found at land-based casinos?
Pennsylvania Slot Machines
As in traditional bricks and mortar casinos, slots are the main attraction and online casinos tend to have a vast array of popular titles to keep players amused. Common slot games include Cleopatra, Rakin' Bacon, Wheel of Fortune, Shamrock Spin, Chili Chili Fire and many others. Good online casinos will offer slots in all shapes and sizes, from the classic three reels bearing fruits and 7s to massive six+ reels bursting with additional features. There are also many progressive jackpot slots that give you the chance to win life-changing amounts of money in as little as a single spin!
Pennsylvania Tables Games and Live Casino
But you're not just limited to slot games as online casinos. Thanks to the gaming industry in Pennsylvania opening up to existing online partners, a tidal wave of online casino games from world-renowned developers has landed, bringing a whole range of live and RNG casino games with it. This means you can play all the big casino favorites such as Blackjack, Roulette, Baccarat and even Craps, as well as many other titles. These games come in two varieties: RNG or live. RNG games are virtual versions of popular titles that use a random number generator to determine the outcome of the game, making them provably fair. Opt to play live instead and it's about as close to playing in a real casino as you can get with a real person dealing your cards and spinning the wheel via live streaming from a professional casino studio. It's a fantastic experience that can be explored from the comfort of your own home or wherever you are!
Land-based casinos in PA
When the law changed allowing online gambling in the state, the PGCB offered existing land-based casinos the opportunity to get a license and of course they all accepted, though it took them a while in some cases to come online!
Amongst the first to launch online arms were Sugarhouse (one of the two Rivers Philadelphia online casinos), Hollywood Casino and Parx Casino, which were all up in July of 2019. Others soon followed suit, including Mohegan Sun Pocono via the Unibet brand, Valley Forge via FanDuel Casino, Presque Isle as BetAmerica, a second Rivers Philadelphia arm in BetRivers, Harrah's Philadelphia as Caesar's Online Casino, and a second arm by Hollywood on the popular DraftKings platform.
There are more land-based casinos in Pennsylvania than there are PA online casinos. However, there aren't as many as you might think, due to the relatively recent gambling legislation compared to other states, and its limitations to certain areas. A main casino can have "satellite" casinos, which are within 25 miles of the main casino. There are also limited amounts of gambling allowed at truck stops and airports, although to date no airports have implemented a casino on the premises. Truck stops can operate up to five slot machines, but counties can still make a final decision on if these are allowed.
The rules for the lottery and for horse racing bets are a little different. Horse track race casinos have been able to operate for significantly longer than other casinos, although they are still very strictly controlled with legislation. Before 2006, they were not even allowed to operate slot machines - but horse race betting has been legal in Pennsylvania since 1959. You can bet on horses on-track and also in off-track (secondary) locations.
The truck stops that currently offer video games, such as slots, are currently:
Bald Eagle Truck Stop
Emlenton Truck Plaza
Keystone Truck Stop
Pit Stop Travel Plaza
Map of Casinos in PA
Not sure where the partner casinos in the state can be located? We've included a map below to make your search easier.