It took a little while, but online gaming has finally arrived in the Keystone State!
Pennsylvania’s legislature paved the way in October of 2017 when they passed a comprehensive piece of legislation heavily altering the state’s legal gaming environment. There were several changes and upgrades made, including creating provisions for an online version of the state lottery, retail and online sports betting, and online casino games like slots, table games, and online poker.
The fruits from that last line item (online gaming) have ripened at last. Hollywood Casino, Parx Casino, and PlaySugarHouse have all launched online casinos and more will be following in the coming months.
Hollywood Casino was first – again
Hollywood Casino made history in November 2018 when they opened Pennsylvania’s first licensed and regulated retail sportsbook. They got in the record books again on Monday July 15 2019 when, at 11am ET, they launched the state’s first legal online casino gaming platform.
This initial launch was a “soft- launch” or testing phase. This means that the site runs a restricted number of games for a restricted time period while the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) closely monitors the operation to make sure they comply with all rules and regulations and that the games and payment processes are fair for all players.
For the test period (which lasts 2-3 days), Hollywood’s online casino ran for just eight hours each day and offered a few dozen online slot variants alongside some video poker games and one old-school table game; baccarat.
After two days, Hollywood expanded their selection a little, adding a few different versions of another classic: roulette. As the days and weeks go by, expect Hollywood to roll out more and more games, until their full suite of online casino games is up and running.
Parx Casino just three hours behind
Parx Casino was second into this new market by a very narrow margin – just three hours. They launched at 2pm ET July 15 2019.
They also began operations in a restricted “test period” manner as mandated by the PGCB, but they offered a few more games during the testing phase. Parx soft-launched with over 150 different slot titles, video poker, keno, and a small handful of casino table games, including some old favorites like blackjack and European (one zero) roulette, alongside some more exotic table games like Hi/Lo Solitaire, Burn the Sevens, and PokerBet. Over the next days and weeks, expect Parx to add table game staples like baccarat, craps, and Caribbean stud.
Here comes PlaySugarHouse!
Just two days after Hollywood and Parx began their soft-launch, PlaySugarHouse joined the party. PlaySugarHouse is the online gaming brand run by Rush Street, a retail and interactive (online) gaming company that owns SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia as well as Rivers Casino Pittsburgh and a few other US casinos under the Rivers brand.
Interestingly, SugarHouse will soon be rebranded as Rivers Casino Philadelphia in an attempt by Rush Street to unify their brand. Despite that, their online gaming presence (both in PA and neighboring NJ) is run under the PlaySugarHouse moniker.
PlaySugarHouse began their soft-launch period with a smallish offering of just 22 slot titles while under close PGCB supervision. Expect these titles to be expanded slowly in the next few days and weeks. Before long, the whole catalog of PlaySugarHouse online gaming options should be available. Based on their online gaming platform that has been running for a while now in New Jersey, those offerings should be robust.
A sweet deposit bonus from PlaySugarHouse
To promote their new online casino, SugarHouse is offering a very attractive bonus when players sign up and make their initial deposit. Just be sure to use the bonus code 250MATCH when making that deposit and PlaySugarHouse will match that deposit 100% up to $250 with an industry-best 1x playthrough requirement to actualize the bonus.
In layman’s terms: to maximally take advantage of this bonus, just sign up and make an initial deposit of $250 of more (and at least $10). Be sure to enter the promotional code 250MATCH when doing so. Then make $250 worth of bets on the site. No matter the outcome of these bets, once you “play through” the deposit once, PlaySugarHouse will credit your account with an extra $250.
It’s a great initial offer and shouldn’t be overlooked by Pennsylvania players interested in online gaming.
Which PA casinos will be arriving in the online market next?
Hollywood, Parx, and PlaySugarHouse are currently the only game in town for PA online bettors, but that won’t last for long.
Harrah’s Philadelphia, Valley Forge, and Presque Isle Downs are licensed and approved for online gaming and are expected to launch their online casinos sometime this summer.
It won’t be long before the rest of the PA casino operators licensed for online gaming will enter this new market tool. These include Mount Airy, Sands Bethlehem, Mohegan Sun Pocano, and the soon-to-be-built Stadium Casino, as well as soon-to-be-licensed Qualified Gaming Entities MGM and Golden Nugget.