Pennsylvania Online Casino News and Developments
Online Poker Report

Pennsylvania Online Casinos

Pennsylvania is the most populous US state with legal, regulated online gambling in 2020.

The omnibus expansion package Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law in 2017 authorized interactive gaming across multiple verticals — including lottery, casino, fantasy sports, sports betting, and poker.

Once the first PA online casinos launched in July 2019, it didn’t take long for a variety of options to become available to gamblers in the Keystone State.

Pennsylvania online casino list

Legal online casinos in Pennsylvania include:

Each PA online casino features a variety of slots, table games, and video poker — with many additionally including other novelty games among their many selections.

BetAmerica

  • Land-based partner: Presque Isle Downs
  • Tech partner: Rush Street Interactive
  • Date launched: Jan. 28, 2020

Operating through a partnership with Presque Isle Downs & Casino in Erie, BetAmerica is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated — home of the Kentucky Derby.

BetAmerica has over 50 different types of slot games, including popular titles such as Blood Suckers, Fairy Tale Legends Hansel & Gretel, Jack Hammer, Lucky Angler, Spinata Grande, and Twin $pin. Available table games include blackjack and roulette.

One drawback, though: unlike other online casinos in Pennsylvania, BetAmerica has no mobile option and is only available via a web-browser.

BetRivers Casino

  • Land-based partner: Rivers Philadelphia
  • Tech partner: Rush Street Interactive
  • Date launched: Jan. 30, 2020

Although affiliated with Rivers Casino Pittsburgh, the BetRivers online casino technically operates under Rivers Casino Philadelphia’s gaming license. The casino is essentially a skin of PlaySugarHouse, also operated by Rivers and similarly run on a platform provided by Rush Street Interactive.

BetRivers features games from several different studios, with more than 70 different kinds of slots from which to choose. Popular titles include Cats, Double Jackpot, Guns ‘N Roses, Jimi Hendrix, Jingle Spin, Tiger 7s, White Orchid, and Wild Life. 

Table and card games include blackjack, baccarat, and multiple roulette games. There is also a variety of video poker games powered by Game King.

Hollywood Casino

  • Land-based partner: Hollywood Casino
  • Tech partner: IGT
  • Date launched: July 15, 2019

After being the first to launch an online sportsbook in Pennsylvania, Hollywood Casino in Grantville was the technically the first to launch an online casino as well, beating Parx by a few hours. 

Parent company Penn National Gaming partnered with multinational gambling company IGT to power the site which after a few small hiccups early on has become a go-to option for online casino game fans in the state.

There are more than 50 kinds of slots available, with Butterfly 2, Cash-o-Matic, Cleopatra, Da Vinci Diamonds, Double Stacks, Electric Tiger, Jumanji, and Wheel of Fortune among those featured.

Table and card games include blackjack, baccarat, and several different roulette games, plus video poker.

FanDuel Casino

  • Land-based partner: Valley Forge
  • Tech partner: IGT / GAN
  • Date launched: Jan. 24, 2020

Daily fantasy sports giant FanDuel jumped into the retail and online sportsbook market in a big way starting in 2018 and now has branched out to other casino games as well, starting in Pennsylvania. With Valley Forge Casino Resort in King of Prussia as its land-based partner, FanDuel has joined forces with IGT for its platform and GAN for account management.

FanDuel Casino got off to a fast start after launching a little over a week before Super Bowl LIV, using a number of promotions to hit the ground running and quickly become a leading revenue gainer among all the online casinos in the state.

The FanDuel online casino includes only a modest offering of slots, with favorites Cleopatra, Da Vinci Diamonds, Dead or Alive, Divine Fortune and others among the choices. Table games include the usual blackjack and roulette varieties.

Parx Casino

  • Land-based partner: Parx
  • Tech partner: GAN
  • Date launched: July 15, 2019

Parx Casino in Bensalem was one of the very first in the state to launch an online casino, partnering with industry vet GAN to provide a robust selection of casino games on its online platform from the get-go. 

Like other online casinos in the state Parx offers slots, table games, and video poker, and intends to introduce live-dealer games as well. The slots selection is particularly large with around a 100 different choices, including all the Vegas classics like Atomic Meltdown, Cleopatra, Crown Egypt, DaVinci Diamonds, Pixies of the Forest, Tiger 7’s, Triple Diamond, Wheel of Fortune, Wolf Run and many more.

There are more table games at Parx than elsewhere, too, including blackjack, baccarat, several different roulette games and Jacks-or-better, as well as video poker.

PlaySugarHouse Casino

  • Land-based partner: Rivers Philadelphia
  • Tech partner: Rush Street Interactive
  • Date launched: July 17, 2019

Rivers Casino Philadelphia’s online casino is similar in all respects to the skin at BetRivers described above, with both run on a platforms provided by Rush Street Interactive.

Here players will find the same variety of options from several different game studios, with Dead or Alive, Divine Fortune, Double Ruby, Sparkling Roses, and Triple X Threat among the most popular slot selections. Table games (blackjack, baccarat, and roulette) and video poker are also favorites here.

PokerStars Casino

  • Land-based partner: Mount Airy
  • Tech partner: PokerStars
  • Date launched: Nov. 4, 2019

Longtime online poker giant PokerStars partnered with Mount Airy Casino Resort in Mt. Pocono to launch the first online poker room in Pennsylvania in early November 2019, also launching its online casino at the same time. A great option for poker players who also like to play other casino games, everything — along with sports betting, too — is housed in one handy standalone client.

There are around 50 different choices of slots available, with Frog of Fortune, The Imperial Kitchen, Lion Storm, Turn Your Fortune, and the exclusive Stars Classic Slot among the most popular.

Unsurprisingly given the poker connection, there’s a wide range of table and card games in the PokerStars online casino. There’s blackjack, baccarat, and roulette, of course, but also many different “single hand” games like Jacks or Better, Joker Poker, Aces and Eights and more. There are multiplayer versions of these games, too, at a variety of stakes, as well as video poker.

Unibet Casino

  • Land-based partner: Mohegan Sun Pocono
  • Tech partner: Kindred / Scientific Games Digital
  • Date launched: Nov. 13, 2019

European gaming giant Unibet partnered with Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre to bring online casino games to Pennsylvania. The platform is the result of a collaboration between Unibet parent company Kindred and Scientific Games.

More than 70 different slots games are on offer, including all the favorites and popular ones like Cleopatra, Dead or Alive, Divine Fortune, Gonzo’s Quest and Siberian Storm. Among the table games there is blackjack (including an exclusive “micro stakes” version), baccarat, and a half-dozen routlette variants.

There is a jackpot game as well plus several video poker options, among them exclusive varieties of Deuces Wild and Jacks or Better.

Pennsylvania online casino apps

While all Pennsylvania online casinos are available via web-based browsers on your laptop or desktop, nearly all are also accessible on mobile devices via each online casino’s app.

These Android and iOS (Apple) apps are free to download and in many respects feature the same functionality as the web-based versions of the online casino. They do, however, sometimes feature fewer games to choose from than their web-based counterparts.

Android users cannot download apps from the Google Play Store since it does not allow gambling apps. However they can download apps directly from the casino’s websites using their device’s browser.

Meanwhile iOS users face a different obstacle since Apple instituted a policy requiring gambling apps to be built on the native iOS (and not coded in HTML5). That forced new online casinos to build their own iOS apps.

As a result, some Pennsylvania online casinos offer iOS apps, some offer Android apps, some have both and one has neither. In some cases, such as BetRivers and FanDuel Casino, you access the online casino via the online sportsbook app.

Consult with your favorite site to see what options are currently available.

Games at Pennsylvania online casinos

Like online casinos elsewhere, those in PA offer a wide variety of slots, table games, and video poker. Many also have plans to include “live-dealer” table games in which an actual dealer in a studio conducts the games.

Slots

If you like slots in retail casinos, you’ll discover slots in online casinos to be very similar.

They comprise by far the majority of games in PA online casinos and include many of the same favorites found in the brick-and-mortar realm. Even the games themselves are often identical, including classics like Cleopatra, Wheel of Fortune, and Wolf Run.

When playing slots online you can either search games by title or filter them in various ways, including by the studios that create the games such as IGT, NetEnt, Everi, and Konami. You can also often search by the number of reels, progressive jackpots, and in other ways that can’t so easily be done when playing live slots.

Table games

The most frequently found table games in PA online casinos are blackjack, baccarat, and roulette. Larger casinos feature multiple variants of each as well as different stakes.

Blackjack games often feature fun side bets, multi-hand games, and offer variants such as Blackjack Switch, Free Bet Blackjack, and Spanish 21.

Roulette almost always features either American or European roulette among other options.

Video poker

Video poker also greatly resembles what you find in a live casino, with the familiar Game King suite of games a popular option. There you’ll find all the favorite variants like Deuces Wild, Jacks or Better, and Double Bonus.

Live-dealer games

As noted, live-dealer table games help make online casinos seem even more like the “real” thing.

They involve playing games like blackjack, baccarat, roulette, three-card poker, casino hold’em, and other table and card games with a live dealer or croupier managing the action from a studio.

While you play you can chat via text with the dealers and other players, making the social component of the games even more comparable to what you’ll find in a retail casino. 

Depositing at Pennsylvania online casinos

Most online casinos in Pennsylvania provide a wide variety of depositing methods, typically including some or all of the following:

  • ACH / eCheck
  • credit cards (especially Visa and MasterCard)
  • debit cards
  • online banking / bank transfers
  • PayPal
  • Skrill
  • Play+
  • PayNearMe
  • check
  • cash at the casino cage

When it comes to withdrawals, there are typically fewer options available. These tend to include:

  • ACH / eCheck
  • PayPal
  • check
  • cash at the casino cage

Be sure to check with each online casinos to see which banking options are available. Also check with the sites to determine how long the different transactions take. Most are very fast (or even instantaneous), but some do take longer than others.

Pennsylvania online casino bonuses

As found in online sportsbooks across the country, Pennsylvania’s online casinos all offer bonuses of various types to encourage players to sign up and continue playing. These vary depending on the online casino, though in most cases you will find the following:

Welcome bonus

In most cases, the welcome bonus comes in the form of no-risk bets that allow first-time users a way to try out the games without having to worry about losing money.

In some cases these welcome bonuses are no-deposit bonuses, meaning you are simply given a small amount of money (usually from $10 to $25) with which you can play any of the available games. These bonuses cannot be withdrawn — you must wager the entire bonus — but you can keep the winnings you earn.

Other welcome bonuses are tied to making a first deposit. These matching bonuses usually match a first deposit 100% up to a certain maximum amount. Again, the bonus money cannot be withdrawn before it is wagered, and there is usually a time limit during which the bonus money must be used (e.g., 30 or 60 days).

Loyalty / rewards programs

Some online casinos offer ongoing loyalty programs that reward players with cash or “comps” according to how much they play, much like is found in brick-and-mortar casinos. Loyalty programs are more commonly found with online casinos than with online sportsbooks, and often will be linked to the retail casinos’ programs.

Other promotions

Most PA online casinos often offer ways to earn bonuses via promotions such as reload bonuses, double-points deals, referral bonuses, and more. Keep an eye out for these as they come along.

Pennsylvania online gambling news

Pennsylvania online gambling FAQ: 2020

Below are some common questions and answers related to PA online gambling.

How many PA online gambling sites are there?

Interactive gaming permits are limited based on the number of casino licenses issued by the state. As things currently stand, that means there are 13 interactive permits available in each of these categories:

  • Slots
  • Table games
  • Poker

That makes room for as many as 39 brands, but the number of licenses doesn’t necessarily equate to the number of sites.

New Jersey’s online casino market is a good example; there, permits are limited to the Atlantic City casinos. But each property can partner with multiple brands under its land-based license.

Consider Golden Nugget, for instance, which has both Golden Nugget online casino and Betfair NJ online casino operating under its license.

Pennsylvania skins need to be partnered with a PA casino licensee and display their brand prominently.

Who can gamble online in Pennsylvania?

Broadly speaking, individuals located in the state who are 21 and over can participate. You do not have to be a resident of Pennsylvania to play.

Employees of land-based licensees and key employees of platform providers are excluded, as are individuals who are barred from land-based casinos and individuals who have elected to self-exclude.

What casino games are available online in PA?

In simple terms, online casino games and online poker games are all available. But the bill gives regulators reasonable latitude to approve a wide array of games.

Due to the unique taxation structure that penalizes slot play and favors table games and poker, some new game variants may be developed for the PA market that attempt to appeal to slot players while remaining within the definition of a table game or a poker game.

What are the tax rates for PA online gambling?

There are three distinct tax rates for online games:

  • Slots: 54%
  • Table games: 34%
  • Poker: 16%

Tax is based on gross gaming revenue, defined as “the total of all cash or cash equivalent wagers […] minus the total of cash or cash equivalents paid out to to registered players as winnings.”

What are the license fees?

They vary slightly.

  • During the first 90 days after licensing opened, casinos could only buy all three categories (poker, table, and slots) in one bundle for $10 million.
  • During days 91-120, casinos could buy individual categories for $4 million apiece.
  • After day 120, “qualified gaming entities” could submit an application for the remaining licenses at a cost of $4 million per category.

PA interactive gaming permits are valid for five years.

How much revenue does PA make from online gambling?

Visit this PA gambling expansion revenue page for a full breakdown to date.

Who regulates PA online gambling?

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) oversees and enforces all aspects of the industry.

Pennsylvania online gambling history

Here’s an overview of the recent history of online gambling legislation in Pennsylvania, covering the years leading up to the passage of a major gambling expansion legislation in 2017 and what has happened since.

2013

Online gambling first appeared on the legislature’s radar in April 2013, when State Rep. Tina Davis introduced HB 1235. The bill would permit both online poker and casino within the commonwealth. It also set operator licensing fees at $5 million, and called for a 28 percent tax rate on gross gaming revenue.

However by June, a general lack of interest among lawmakers resulted in the House Committee on Gaming Oversight chair Tina Pickett recommending the bill be stalled until 2015. But it wouldn’t take nearly that long for the ball to begin rolling again.

In December 2013, the Senate took a mammoth step forward when it passed SR 273. The resolution tasked Econsult Solutions with conducting a study that would measure the economic impact of online gambling.

2014

The results of the gambling study were published in May 2014, and they provided cause for optimism. Econsult estimated that online gambling would yield $68 million in first year tax revenue, and $110 million annually going forward. It also concluded that online gambling would have a complementary impact on land-based casino revenue.

Granted, the revenue estimates needed to be taken with a massive grain of salt, as they presumed a blended 20 percent tax rate on online poker and 60 percent on slots.

In any case, the results proved favorable enough for State Sen. Edwin Erickson to introduce a new online gambling bill (SB 1386) in June 2014. There was little action on that particular bill, but it set the stage for what would prove a very active 2015 session.

2015

Rep. John Payne introduced HB 649 in February 2015. Payne viewed online gambling as part of the solution to the state’s “projected $2 billion budget shortfall.” He backed his beliefs by championing online gambling legislation efforts for the next two years.

In the spring of 2015, two competing bills emerged in the House. One, HB 920, was from Tina Davis, a near replica of her 2013 bill. The other, Nick Miccarelli’s HB 695, was an online poker-only bill. Of the three, Payne’s bill became the most likely candidate for serious consideration.

Ahead of the June 30 budget deadline, there was the introduction of a fourth bill — this one from the State Sen. Kim Ward. SB 900 was significant in that it marked the Senate’s official entry into the conversation. Unfortunately, SB 900 was radically different than HB 649. It called for a 54 percent tax rate, a $10 million operator licensing fee, in-person registration, and the exclusion of Category 3 casinos.

Suffice it to say, the rigid nature of SB 900 would make it so license holders would have trouble operating profitably.

The first ‘yes’ votes in PA

The Senate held two hearings on online gambling in June 2015. After that little was heard on the topic until the fall. In October, Pennsylvania was still in the midst of a budget stalemate. When Gov. Tom Wolf’s tax plan saw defeat in the House, he became willing to discuss new revenue sources, online gambling among them.

The following month, the GO committee passed HB 649 by a margin of 18-8. This marked the first time an online gambling bill passed a vote in Pennsylvania. But by then, an omnibus package was attached to the bill. It called for slot machines at non-casino venues and airports, Category 3 casino expansion, and a report on daily fantasy sports, among other reforms.

It’s believed that the controversial elements of the bill, namely allowing video gaming terminals at non-casino locations, was one of the reasons efforts stalled in 2015.

2016

For a time, it looked like Pennsylvania was a slam dunk to legalize online gambling in 2016. But those hopes were dashed when the Senate failed to reach a consensus before the last scheduled session day.

It wasn’t until late May that the wheels began turning. That’s when the House of Representatives considered two gaming reform amendments.  This amendments, if passed, would become part of a separate gaming bill, HB 1925.

Amendment A7622

The first, A7622, packaged online poker/casino and other reforms alongside the inclusion of video gaming terminals (VGTs) at non-casino locations. The other, A7622, was a mirror of Rep. John Payne’s omnibus gaming reform bill (HB 649) from the year prior, and did not include VGTs.

Confusion ruled the day, and both amendments were soundly defeated, although the margin of defeat for A7622 was significantly smaller.

Momentum shifted to the side of online gambling proponents in late June. That’s when a new, multifaceted gaming reform bill that linked online gambling, daily fantasy sports, and other gaming reforms emerged in the House.

An amendment to allow VGTs nearly derailed the bill, though that amendment failed by a vote of 118-79. Then another last-minute amendment by Rep. Rosita Youngblood (the aptly titled Youngblood Amendment) calling for the exclusion of VGTs turned the tide. The amendment ultimately passed 115-80.

House Bill 2150

In the week that followed, HB 2150 saw a whirlwind of activity.  This culminated in the bill clearing a vote in the House.

In July, Governor Tom Wolf allowed a $1.3 billion revenue package that earmarked $100 million for gaming reform, to become law. All indications pointed to licensing fees from online gambling operators would be counted on to fill the gap.

Unfortunately, the Senate signaled that it would not be addressing online gambling legislation until the fall. In the interim, the legislature raised taxes on casino table games, while online gambling advocates spoke up about the need to pass legislation sooner rather than later.

2017

The discussion of expanded gambling in Pennsylvania, including the introduction of online gambling, had reached a new level of seriousness, and in 2017 legislation finally made it to the finish line when H 271 became law.

Gov. Wolf signed the bill into law on Oct. 30, 2017, which not only legalized online casinos, online sports betting, online poker, and daily fantasy sports, but also included provisions to permit new satellite casinos (or “mini-casinos), video gaming terminals at selected locations, and the online lottery.

Pennsylvania had become the fourth state to legalize online gambling and online poker in the United States.

2018

Pennsylvania’s new expanded gambling law was therefore already in place when the U.S. Supreme Court made its landmark ruling in May 2018 to lift the federal prohibition against states other than Nevada to offer sports betting. The first retail sportsbooks opened in the state later in the year, although it would take another year and the nailing down of regulations before online sportsbooks were able to launch.

In July 2018, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board opened up the licensing process to online gambling operators. During the first 90 days only existing casinos could buy licenses to provide online gambling, with a $10 million price license fee allowing them to offer online slots, table games, and poker. The gaming permits are valid for five years.

After that casinos were allowed to purchase individual licenses for $4 million apiece over the next 30 days, then after that all “qualified gaming entities” were similarly invited to apply for the individual licenses.

2019

The first online casinos in PA were able to launch in July 2015, with online sportsbooks coming online as well in time for the 2019 NFL season. As noted above, Hollywood Casino earned the distinction of being the first to launch both.

Then in early November 2019 came the launch of the first online poker room in the state, PokerStars PA.

Five online casinos were up and running in PA by the end of 2019, and during their first six months the revenue they collectively earned increased every single month.

Collectively the total win from online gambling was $33.6 million (including poker), from which $13.3 million in taxes were collected for a net revenue total of $20.3 million. Slots led the way to account for 62% of that revenue total, followed by table games (24%) and poker (14%).

2020

The new year began with three more online casinos going online, giving Pennsylvanians additional options, and the revenue totals continued to increase every month.

In March the coronavirus pandemic forced the closures of all retail casinos in Pennsylvania and most others throughout the country. As a result, online gambling became an even more attractive option for many in the Keystone State.

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