PA Online Casino & 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. Of course, this is great news, especially if you reside in Pennsylvania since this state legalized all three activities in 2019.
So what are the best PA online casinos that you, as a Pennsylvania resident, are permitted to join to play games for real money?
Legal Gambling in Pennsylvania
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 four states to legalise online gambling activities.
Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware, the other states that allow their residents to gamble at an online casino. However, it took a little while for companies to start offering online access to casino and poker games and sports betting, but by the end of 2019, all three activities were online and legal for state residents. Online Casinos in PA 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 online casinos will not be persecuted and will not face any legal action as long as they are of the legal gambling age and reside within Pennsylvania. By meeting these two criteria, players are free to sign up at any 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 user-friendly.
Best Pennsylvania Casino Games
Let's have a look at the best games in Pennsylvania.
Online Poker in Pennsylvania
While online poker in Pennsylvania 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 the option of playing poker online and a good range of PA poker sites to choose from.
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. They paid their fair share of taxes on the resulting profits. As a result, many of the familiar land-based casinos launched an online casino arm of their brand and the option to bet on sports, too, often on the 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 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. Still, 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 casinos or land-based casinos, 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 within the state's borders.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board hands out licences according to four different categories:
- Category 1: Horse race track casinos (racinos); race tracks where players can bet on races and play slot machines.
- Category 2: Stand-alone casinos. There are privately-owned land-based casinos that need a licence to operate.
- Category 3: Resort casinos. Casino halls you will find at a resort within Pennsylvania.
- Category 4: Satellite casinos. Small-scale gambling operations 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 PA casinos have been trained to understand the effects of gambling and make 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 the 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. Obviously, the PGCB takes safety and security and follows the law very seriously.
Find the PA Legal Casinos
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 and details of the address of the issuing regulatory body (i.e. the PGCB). If these are not displayed in the site's footer in question, you can also check the site's About page.
We will only recommend casinos that are legal in Pennsylvania. If you find a new PA casino that 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 of 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. Similarly to land-based casinos, online casinos must not allow anyone under 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 ids 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 PA casinos is determining the location of players. Only players located in Pennsylvania are permitted to play online casinos games. So as part of their regulatory responsibilities, online casinos are tasked with ensuring that this is the case.
While this is a straightforward 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 straightforward 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 used to determine your location before you'll be allowed to play any games.
Banned Casinos in Pennsylvania
While they can reapply later, operators can have their license revoked if they are flouting the stipulated regulations. Since these regulations stem directly from the Gaming Act, it is an offence 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.
Pennsylvania Casino Bonuses
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 dictate how much you have to deposit, how much money you need to play with, 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 casinos in PA? The first bonus you're most likely to come across is the first deposit bonus. Also called the welcome bonus or sign-up bonus 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. Social casinos also offer sign-up bonuses, you can redeem Global Poker sweeps coins after verifying your account.
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 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 if 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 are 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 recommend reading the terms and conditions carefully before opting for any bonus or signing up for 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 several methods available that make this a rapid 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 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 used or creating an entirely separate mobile casino site.
It's also not unusual to find separate Android and iOS online casino apps. These may include the Chumba app or Luckyland casino slots.
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 casinos. This is why before joining any one of the casinos in PA, you'll be asked for personal details. Still, it's also why you'll usually find an additional app 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 you might occasionally run into technical difficulties. If so, check these:
- Ensure 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 place bets and play while you are within state lines.
- Contact the casino's customer support in question if you are within PA and have the most up-to-date app but still have issues.
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!
Among the first to launch online arms were Sugarhouse (one of the two Rivers Philadelphia online casinos), Hollywood Casino and Parx Casino, all up in July 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.
The main casino can have "satellite" casinos 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 decide if these are allowed.
The lottery and horse racing bets rules are a little different. Horse track race casinos have operated significantly longer than other best online casinos, although they are still strictly controlled with legislation. Before 2006, they were not allowed to operate slot machines - but horse race betting has been legal in Pennsylvania since 1959. You can bet on horses and in off-track (secondary) locations.
The truck stops that currently offer video games, such as slots, are currently:
|Bald Eagle Truck Stop||McElhattan|
|Emlenton Truck Plaza||Emlenton|
|Keystone Truck Stop||Loganton|
|Pit Stop Travel Plaza||Loganton|
Online gambling in Pennsylvania has taken off in a big way thanks to regulation and enthusiasm from existing land-based casinos and many sweeps cash casinos. The PGCB recognises the value of the newly emerging industry to the state and is committed to ensuring licensees are following the regulations while also overseeing the positive impact the revenue has on PA infrastructure, society and tourism.
Land-based casinos partnering with experienced games and platform providers has resulted in an explosion in the variety of games players have at their fingertips, all accessible any time of the day or night and from any device.
No longer the taboo of past years, online gambling has arrived in PA and promises to benefit all involved, from land and online-based operators to local businesses and people to the players themselves. Being the second-largest state in terms of both revenue and gambling solutions, the future is looking bright for gamblers who live in PA.
Not only has Pennsylvania been a trailblazer in making online gambling and sportsbook more accessible and safe for players, but we have also seen many other states follow in its footsteps ever since the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act has been lifted.