Online Casino Legal Overview Pennsylvania

Since the recent legalization of online gambling in Pennsylvania, three casinos have already launched online with many more planning to do the same before the year ends. In 2017, Governor Tom Wolf signed an online gambling bill for the state which gave casinos the OK to launch online casinos, online poker, sports betting, and other forms of online betting. In 2018, ten casinos in Pennsylvania applied for online gambling licenses. 

Pennsylvania has been a leader in the American gambling scene and is now the fourth state to legalize online wagering after Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey. While other states like California and Oklahoma have more casinos than PA, the Keystone State still rakes in the most gambling taxes after Nevada. With the legalization of online gambling, Pennsylvania is becoming a leader in the industry by having more legal ways for players to wager than the majority of the United States. 

Pennsylvania Online Casino License 

Gaming licenses in the state of PA are broken down into three categories; online poker and other online games, online slots, and house-banked games. Any casino in Pennsylvania wanting to get an interactive gaming license had to pay $4 million apiece but a few opted for the package deal worth $10 million altogether, and now eight casinos in the state are fully licensed for online gambling. 

A Pennsylvania casino can apply for an Interactive Gaming License if the following requirements have been met: 

  • The casino must be able to pay the $4 million for the document and show financial stability.
  • The casino must hold a license in the United States or outside as well as a license for a slot machine. 
  • The casino license can not still be under review and have no previous violations. 

All online casinos are monitored and tested by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to make sure upon launch that sites are safe, secure and properly verified. 

Geolocation in Pennsylvania 

All online casinos launched in Pennsylvania will be using geolocation technology to monitor where players are wagering from. Players do not have to live in the state full time but anyone looking to play on an online casino in PA must be within state borders and have location services turned on. 

If there is any doubt to where the player may be located, the online casino will not give access to real-money play. If a player is using a proxy server or VPN they will most likely run into some problems but additional software for geolocation is possible to download for mobile users on 4G. It is recommended that players looking to play online connect to the site with Wi-Fi to avoid technical difficulties.  

Online Poker in Pennsylvania 

The bill signed by Gov. Tom Wolf in 2017, deemed as H 271, legalized forms of online gambling including online poker in the state. Licenses started getting distributed in August of 2018 and in early 2019, Kevin O’Toole, who is the Executive Director of the PGCB, released that poker sites will be able to launch along with online casinos in July. 

Seven out of the thirteen casinos in Pennsylvania applied and have been approved for an online poker interactive license:  

  • Valley Forge Casino - GVC/PartyPoker
  • SugarHouse Casino - Rush Street Gaming
  • Parx Casino - GAN/Kambi
  • Mount Airy Resort Casino - PokerStars
  • Hollywood Casino - IGT
  • Harrah’s Philadelphia - 888Poker/
  • Mohegan Sun Pocono - Latest casino to apply for online poker license, they have worked with PokerStars and The Stars Group before so players can expect to see a partnership with TSG once the casino launches online. 

Out of the 39 available interactive gaming licenses, six online poker permits remain to be claimed. Like online casinos, players are required to be inside state lines and at least 21 years of age if they want to play for real money on any poker site. 

Right now Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware are all part of a shared player pool with Pennsylvania expected to join. If this happens, the Keystone state will be in high demand by other online gaming operators looking to make deals with casinos.  

Pennsylvania Sports Betting

Online sports betting was legalized in Pennsylvania right before online casinos, in 2018. It was New Jersey that fought with the Supreme Court for five years to change the law banning all sports betting in the United States, put in place by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. After PASPA was dismissed, Pennsylvania became one of the first states to implement its own laws regulating sports betting. 

Game operators have to pay a fee of $10 million for a license and provide detailed plans for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to approve. There is also a 36% tax rate and federal excise tax on overall handle charged at 0.25%, but no integrity fees. 

According to the Pennsylvania state law, anyone over the age of 21 and located within the borders of PA is able to place sports bets online via desktop and through mobile devices.