The legal landscape for gambling in Pennsylvania has changed quite a bit recently. Changes in US law as well as new legislation at the state level have brought sports betting, new mini-casinos, and a statewide online lottery to the people of the Keystone State. Perhaps of most impact, the new laws also brought online casino gaming to PA players including online slots, table games, poker, and sports betting
Currently, four online sportsbooks and three online casinos are up and running legally under licenses issued by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). Many more will be entering this exciting new market later in 2019.
Who’s offering online gambling in PA?
The PGCB initially created online licenses for each of Pennsylvania’s 13 existing (and scheduled) land-based casinos. Because not all of these casino operators took the state regulator up on all of these licenses, the PGCB opened up the field to out-of-state Qualified Gaming Entities (QGEs) to take any of these available licenses. Two of these QGEs, Golden Nugget and MGM, stepped up and applied.
Here’s a snapshot of the resulting casinos and their online gaming status in Pennsylvania:
last verified: August 6, 2020
|Casino||Online Gaming License Status||Casino Games Launched?||Online Sportsbooks Launched?|
|Parx Casino||Approved for poker, table games, slots, sports betting||Launched July 2019 (no poker yet)||Launched June 2019|
|SugarHouse Casino (PlaySugarHouse)||Approved for poker, table games, slots, sports betting||Launched July 2019 (no poker yet)||Launched May 2019|
|Hollywood Casino at Penn National||Approved for poker, table games, slots, sports betting||Launched July 2019 (no poker yet)||Not yet|
|Rivers Casino Pittsburgh (BetRivers)||Approved for sports betting||No||Launched June 2019|
|Mount Airy Casino||Approved for poker, table games, slots, (sports betting still pending)||Not yet||Not yet|
|Valley Forge Casino||Approved for poker, table games, slots, sports betting||Not yet||Launched July 2019|
|Harrah's Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack||Approved for poker, table games, slots||Not yet||Not yet|
|Sands Casino||Approved for poker, table games, slots||Not yet||No|
|Mohegan Sun Pocono||Approved for table games, slots, sports betting||Not yet||Not yet|
|Presque Isle Downs and Casino||Approved for table games, slots, sports betting||Not yet||Not yet|
|Stadium Casino||Approved for table games, slots, sports betting||Not yet||Not yet (expected to apply for license)|
|The Meadows Casino||Didn't apply||No||No|
|Lady Luck Casino||Didn't apply||No||No|
|MGM||APPLYING FOR poker, table games, slots,||Registered as QGE, licenses not approved yet||Not eligible|
|Golden Nugget||APPLYING FOR table games, slots||Registered as QGE, licenses not approved yet||Not eligible|
An expensive privilege
As shown above, not all the PA casinos eligible for the new gaming licenses chose to take part. The reason for that somewhat surprising fact is the high cost charged by PA regulators. The sports betting license (which allows for online sportsbooks as well as physical retail ones) costs $10 million. As if that wasn’t bad enough, PA sportsbooks revenues will be taxed at a rate of 36%.
The privilege of offering online casino games comes with a steep price-tag as well. Each of the three types of online gaming licenses (slots, table games, and poker) costs $4 million. Bundled together, all three could be had for $10 million.
The taxes are a mixed bag on online gaming. Online poker and casino table game revenues will be taxed at 16% while online slots will be taxed at an eye-popping 54% rate!
Those fees and taxes are markedly high compared to what other states are collecting. Clearly this has caused some casino operators to forego the new opportunity. For those who are giving it a go, these costs could severely hamper their efforts in marketing, customer acquisition, promotions, and other business-building tools.
The net effect of taxes and fees on online gaming in PA is an ongoing question.
The online casino operators in PA:
The online casino/sportsbook gaming industry in Pennsylvania is off to a fast and furious start and will only get hotter and more exciting as more casinos launch more gaming platforms later in 2019. Let’s take a look at each operator in detail and see what they have to offer potential PA online gamblers.
Operating under the license of the SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia, PlaySugarHouse has already proven to be a successful online casino brand in New Jersey and is now open for business in PA. The site began its launch with several exciting slot machines including the first progressive slot in Pennsylvania. They also offer three different varieties of roulette.
PlaySugarHouse is also home to a full-service sportsbook, featuring the same great games, odds, and types of bet available in the retail sportsbook at SugarHouse Casino.
More casino games and slots are coming in the near future. PlaySugarHouse is also licensed for online poker so expect that to arrive sometime soon as well.
Right now, PlaySugarHouse is offering a great bonus for new depositors. Sign up and deposit using Bonus Code 250MATCH and receive a 100% matching bonus up to $250 (minimum $10). Best of all, the play-through requirement to release the bonus to you is an industry-low 1x. To maximize the bonus, make your initial deposit at least $250 with the promotional code 250MATCH. Make $250 worth of bets and the site gives you a bonus $250.
It’s a great offer that new PA online gamblers shouldn’t overlook.
Parx Casino is the largest in Pennsylvania and is already making a big splash in the state’s online gaming market.
Parx launched their online casino with a huge number of slot titles, several keno variants, some table games including blackjack and roulette, and even some video poker games.
Parx Casino’s online sportsbook is open, offering the same games, odds, and bet types as are available in the retail sportsbooks in PA run by Parx (there are currently three of these).
Parx Casino is offering a sizable promotional bonus. Use bonus code PARX500 when depositing and receive a 100% matching bonus up to $500. There is a 20x play-through requirement attached to this bonus. Players must wager twenty times the amount of the deposit before receiving the bonus.
Penn National’s Hollywood Casino has their online casino up and running offering a wide variety of slots and table games with many more expected to be added in the near future.
Hollywood Casino will soon have an online version of their retail sportsbook, but it has not launched yet.
Hollywood Casino is offering an introductory $25 no-deposit bonus to allow players to try their site and app out. The bonus will be released after players meet a 1x play-through requirement.
Rivers Casino Pittsburgh
Rivers Casino operates an online sportsbook under the BetRivers brand. On BetRivers, PA sports bettors can find the same great games, odds, and bet types that are available in the physical sportsbook at Rivers Casino Pittsburgh.
BetRivers is currently offering the same great offer as PlaySugarHouse is. This isn’t surprising, as they are both operated by parent company Rush Street.
Sign up and deposit using Bonus Code 250MATCH and receive a 100% matching bonus up to $250 (minimum $10). Best of all, the play-through requirement to release the bonus to you is an industry-low 1x. To maximize the bonus, make your initial deposit at least $250 with the promotional code 250MATCH. Make $250 worth of bets and the site gives you a bonus $250.
Harrah’s Philadelphia has yet to launch their online casino and sportsbook but will do so soon.
Mount Airy Casino has yet to launch their online casino and sportsbook but will do so soon.
Valley Forge Casino
Valley Forge has partnered with industry legend FanDuel (powered by BetFair) to operate a sportsbook under its license.
Valley Forge has yet to launch their online casino featuring slots, table games, and poker, but is expected to do so soon.
Sands Casino has yet to launch their online casino but will do so soon.
Mohegan Sun Pocono
Mohegan Sun Pocono has yet to launch their online casino and sportsbook, but will do so soon.
Presque Isle Downs
Presque Isle Downs has yet to launch their online casino and sportsbook, but will do so soon.
Stadium Casino has yet to launch their online casino and sportsbook – heck, they haven’t even built their Philly-based casino yet, but they will launch sometime in the next couple years.
MGM is approved as a QGE and has applied to offer online slots, table games and poker in PA. They are awaiting approval.
Golden Nugget is approved as a QGE and has applied to offer online slots and table games in PA. They are awaiting approval.
What other online gaming is available in PA?
Pennsylvanians unmoved by traditional online casino gaming might want to give the Pennsylvania Online Lottery a look.
The PA iLottery is relatively new, perfectly legal, and the games there are a lot of fun.
Right now, the PA iLottery is offering new sign-ups $5 free to play using bonus code WINNER.