Casino Guide Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is the fourth state in the United States to legalize online gambling following New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada (the only form of online gambling in Nevada is online poker). Most casinos in Pennsylvania have yet to launch any online platforms but as of July 15th, three casinos in the state proceeded with a soft launch and are now available for gamblers to start playing on. It is not clear exactly how many Pennsylvania online casinos will go live in 2019 but quite a few have already been approved and obtained licenses for online slots, online table games, and online poker.
Pennsylvania hosts 12 land-based casinos, most of which are expected to make an online presence at some point within the year. In the state, casinos are broken down into four categories; racinos, resort, standalone, and satellite casinos. Which one's your favorite?
When a venue combines horse track betting and casino games together, you have a Category 1 casino, otherwise known as a racino. To operate 5000 slot machines, a casino is looking at paying $50 million in fees and then another $24,000,000+ for the casino tables. The following casinos are classified as a Category 1 in the Keystone State:
- Parx Casino
- Harrah's Philadelphia
- Mohegan Sun Pocono
- Presque Isles Downs
- The Meadows Racetrack and Casino
- Hollywood Casino at Penn National
2999 Street Rd, Bensalem, PA 19020
Parx Casino opened up in 2009 after receiving its license in 2006. The casino is owned by Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment, Inc., and is currently the most popular casino you will find in the state of PA, making more money than any of its competition. In Parx, players will have over 3,000 slots, a poker room made up of 48 tables, and 130 table games to play on. The casino also has two other locations in the state, South Philly Turf Club and Oaks, and has recently added sports betting to all three venues.
777 Harrah's Blvd, Chester, PA 19013
Harrah's casino is owned by Caesars Entertainment and takes up about 100,000 square feet of Philadelphia. The casino has been open since early 2007 and features 2,900 slots, multiple table games, and has recently launched sports betting.
Mohegan Sun Pocono
1280 Pennsylvania 315, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702
Mohegan Sun was one of the first casinos in Pennsylvania to start offering table games and now features over 90 options, from blackjack to poker, and more. The 82,000 square foot casino first opened in late 2006 and is owned by the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut who have filled the venue with 2300 slot machines.
Presque Isles Down
8199 Perry Hwy, Eerie, PA 16509
Under ownership by Churchill Downs, Presque Isles Down has been in business since 2007. Currently, those visiting Pennsylvania and visiting the casino will see 2,000 slot machines, lots of table games, and one of the newest poker rooms in the state.
The Meadows Racetrack and Casino
210 Racetrack Rd, Washington, PA 15301
Have you heard of a casino known for its chips? That would be Meadows in PA, who uses RFID game chips to ensure no cases of fraud. The actual racetrack has been open since the 1960s and opened its casino doors in 2009. Meadows takes up 350,000 square feet and hosts over 3,000 slot machines and a huge variety of table games.
777 Hollywood Blvd, Grantville, PA 17028
Breaking down Hollywood Casino would look something like this: over 2,000 slot machines, 16 poker tables, and 50 table games. The casino is owned by Penn National and has been around since 2008 for players in Pennsylvania to enjoy.
What is interesting about Standalone casinos is the requirement that at least two out of the five must be located in Philadelphia, with another in Pittsburgh. All of the casinos keep a distance between Category 1 and other Category 1 casinos, (as stated by the law) and are each allowed to have the same amount of casino games and slots as a Category 1. The following obtain standalone Category 2 licenses in PA:
- Mount Airy Casino Resort
- SugarHouse Casino
- Sands Bethlehem
- Rivers Casino
- Live! Philadelphia Casino & Hotel
Mount Airy Casino
312 Woodland Rd, Mt Pocono, PA 18344
Mount Airy has been open since late 2007 but only brought in table games three years later. Players who walk into the PA casino will see a wide variety of casino games like blackjack and roulette as well as over 1800 slots to choose from.
1001 N Delaware Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125
SugarHouse got its name from being built on the same site as an old Jack Frost sugar refinery and hosts over 1,600 slot machines and 54 casino tables. From 2006 to 2010, SugarHouse received its license, started building the venue and then opened its doors to the public. Those visiting Philadelphia and stopping in at SugarHouse will also be treated to different restaurant options as well as a large events space, as the casino boasts about 1.3 million square feet of area.
77 Sands Blvd, Bethlehem, PA 18015
Sands Casino received its slot license from the Pennsylvania Gambling Control Board way back in 2006 and since then has rebranded and opened its doors to the public as of 2009. In 2010 the casino got its license for table games and opened a hotel the following year.
777 Casino Dr, Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Owned by Rush Street Gaming, Rivers is the sister property of SugarHouse Casino and has been open to the public since the summer of 2009. Both casinos host sportsbooks as of 2018 and hold Category 2 slot licenses. Rivers originally had applied for an online casino license but pulled out to instead to promote SugarHouse's online platform. Found in Pittsburgh, the casino is made up of 3,000 slot machines and 100 table games, all fitting in a 120,000 square foot venue.
Live! Philadelphia Casino & Hotel
This PA casino isn't actually a casino yet, as construction has not begun but is expected to open its doors by 2020. The PA casino will hold 2,000 slot machines, 125 table games, and a poker room which will feature 30+ tables. The casino project has cost Cordish Cos., the company that holds the casino license, about $400,000,000, and is always working on adding a number of restaurants and event centers to the soon to be Live! Philadelphia Casino.
Category 3 casinos pay the smallest fee compared to the others - just $5 million which buys them about 600 slot machines and then another $11,250,000 for table games.
- Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin
- Valley Forge Casino Resort
Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin
1001 Lafayette Dr. Farmington, PA 15437
Luck is not on this casino's side as they pull in the least amount of revenue compared to their competitors, but players have been able to walk into Lady Luck and choose between over 600 slot machines and almost 30 tables games since July 2013.
Valley Forge Casino Resort
1160 1st Ave, King of Prussia, PA 19406
Valley Forge is the first Category 3 casino to offer sports betting as FanDuel opened its sportsbook in the casino earlier in 2019. Parx Casino tried to sue Valley Forge by insisting it had not met Category 3 requirements, but ultimately it was Valley that won the battle and was bought for $280.5 million by Boyd Gaming. The casino is 40,000 feet and features 50 tables games, 600 slots, and has been open since 2012 which makes it the 11th casino to open its doors in Pennsylvania.
The last category is satellite casinos, or mini-casinos, and has been legalized in Pennsylvania since 2017. Mini-casinos have the capacity to host anywhere between 300 to 750 slot machines and 30 casino games, so it's no surprise minimum bids started at $7.5 million. These casinos are ranked under Category 4 licenses and round two of auctioning saw some Pennsylvania casinos bidding more than $50,000,000 for a satellite casino.
- Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment Inc: Parx Casino operators and bid $8,111,000.
- Mount Airy: Bid $21,188,888.88.
- Stadium Casino: Bid $40,100,005.
- Penn National: $50,100,000.
Since the auctioning began in 2017, the state of Pennsylvania has seen over $127 million in revenue off of licensing fees for satellite casinos.