The moment has almost arrived. In mid-July 2019, online gambling is expected to go live in a “coordinated launch,” which will allow PA casinos that are ready the chance to begin serving residents and out of state visitors.
The PA online gambling market is expected to be very robust, with most PA casinos and prominent online gambling companies to be in the mix.
|PA Online Casinos FAQ|
|When did PA online casinos first launch?||July 17, 2019|
|When did PA online sportsbooks starts launching?||May 2019|
|Which online casinos have launched in PA?||PlaySugarHouse, Parx, Hollywood Casino|
|Which online sportsbooks have launched in PA?||PlaySugarHouse, BetRivers, FoxBet, Parx, FanDuel, DraftKings|
A background on online gambling in PA
In October 2017, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf officially signed a bill that would greatly expand gambling in the state. Included in that bill was the legalization of online gambling as well as sports betting, if and when the federal legal climate improved.
In the spring of 2018 while PA began to license PA online gambling casinos, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states could choose to regulate sports betting. As a result, the first land-based sportsbooks were launched in the state in November of 2018.
What about the anti-online gambling movement?
While online gambling and online sports betting is moving forward in Pennsylvania, there are still efforts in the United States to prevent states from regulating online gambling. While efforts have failed legislatively, the United States Department of Justice reversed its recent opinion earlier this year and stated that the Wire Act could be broadly applied to online gambling.
The effect of that opinion is not fully known at this time and has lead to significant resistance from states, including lawsuits. Regardless of the intended scope, Pennsylvania has continued to move forward with their launch on online gambling, despite a minor delay.
Online gambling is coming to Pennsylvania.
When exactly are online casinos expected to be launch in Pennsylvania?
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has targeted July 15th as the coordinated launch date for online casinos in Pennsylvania. It is expected that most PA casinos that have been licensed for online gambling will launch in or around that date. Others may go live after this date but run the risk of suffering a competitive disadvantage.
When are online sportsbooks expected to launch in PA?
Online sportsbooks and online casinos operate under two different license structures in Pennsylvania. Due to this fact and that sportsbook operations are inherently intra-state, they are slightly more ahead of schedule than the relatively complicated online gambling infrastructure that is needed. While sports betting could be live in May, sports bettors may have to wait until June 2019.
Who is offering online gambling?
Existing PA casinos were eligible to apply for online gambling licenses at a cost of $10 million for all three major game categories (poker, table games and slots) or $4 million for an individual license. In addition, PA casinos could shell out another $10 million for the ability to offer sports betting, with a license that includes mobile sports betting over the internet, once given the go-ahead by the state.
PA casinos are allowed to partner with approved online gambling service and software providers, meaning the state will likely see branded skins with both existing land-based casinos and traditional online gambling providers.
All Pennsylvania casinos that have opened up brick and mortar sportsbook are also expected to offer the more lucrative mobile sports betting options beginning in early June 2019.
|PA Online Casinos|
|Online Gambling (table games, slots)||Online Poker||Online Sportsbook|
|PlaySugarHouse||Live as PlaySugarHouse||Live as PlaySugarHouse|
|Rivers Casino||N/A||Live as BetRivers|
|Parx||Live as Parx Online||Expected launch|
|Mount Airy||Live through PokerStars Casino||Live through PokerStars||Live as FoxBet|
|Stadium Casino||Expected to launch||Expected launch|
|Harrah's Philadelphia||Expected to launch||Expected launch|
|Valley Forge||Expected to launch||Live as FanDuel|
|Hollywood Casino||Live as Hollywood Casino||Expected launch|
|Mohegan Sun Pocono||table Expected to launch, slots||Expected launch|
|Presque Isle Downs and Casino||Expected to launch||Expected launch|
|MGM||Expected to launch|
|The Meadows Casino||N/A||Live as DraftKings|
|Golden Nugget||Expected to launch|
|Lady Luck Casino||N/A|
What games will be available?
If a Pennsylvania casino has been approved to offer online table games and slots, they will have the opportunity to offer a wide variety of games to online players. Expect most PA online casinos to offer dozens of slots and a nice selection of table games that is comparable or even exceed the types of games that players can find in current land-based casinos in PA.
What about online poker?
Yep! Online poker will be coming to players in Pennsylvania, in what will likely the most robust player pool in the country given the population of Pennsylvania (13 million). This is more than any other state that has regulated online poker so far (Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey). This will likely ensure that there are a few different poker room options for players in the state, a variety of game types and tournaments with guarantees into the tens of thousands.
Will I be able to play on PokerStars or partypoker?
It sure looks like it! PokerStars has partnered with Mount Airy while partypoker has partnered with Valley Forge. This will mean that online poker rooms from these PA casinos will use software provided by their software partner.
Can I play against players in other states?
Unfortunately, playing online poker against players from other states looks like it will not be in the cards, at least for now. Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware entered into a liquidity agreement last year but that is in danger given the U.S. Department of Justice’s last opinion on the Wire Act, which will effectively keep online poker within a state’s borders. This will severely hinder states with small populations.
Players in Pennsylvania will suffer to some degree, but not nearly as much as other states given the large population of the state and thus its ability to sustain a healthy poker ecosystem.
Who will be able to gamble online in PA?
Pennsylvania law says that anyone over the age of 21 who is physically located in the state can legally wager through online casinos. This will include both residents of the state as well as eligible players that are visiting the state. Identity information will need to be provided and geo-location tools will be used to ensure that players are actually located in the state.
What deposit options will be available?
Online gambling’s regulation in Pennsylvania means safe and reliable payment options. The precise methods available will depend on the online casino, but expect that most payment options will be readily available. In neighboring New Jersey, players can deposit through credit cards, electronic transfer, as well as traditional options associated with online gambling such as Neteller and Skrill.
Players will likely even be able to deposit via cash when in a land-based casino. The funds will be then be transferred to your online account.
How will I know when online gambling or online sportsbetting is available in PA?
The PGCB has stated that they expect a coordinated launch of online gambling in mid-July. Although that seems likely to be the launch date, these things have a way of being shifted. To be informed of the latest PA online gambling information, be sure to check PartTimePoker daily.
While you wait, you can enjoy real money play via instant games through the PA Online Lottery, with new players eligible to receive a free $5 bonus upon registration.