Real money and free online casino games in Pennsylvania
You can play most games at PA casinos online for fun. Playing games in demomode, or with play-money chips, allows you to find the titles you like before you gamble.
The only category of games that are notavailable for free play is live dealer table games. You can watch them, though you will not be able to bet play-money chips.
The current offerings on real money online casinos in PA are a bit limited, to begin with. Rest assured that the casino sites will add new games as quickly as the PA Gaming Control Board (PGCB) will allow it.
We offer an overview of how diverse these casino game categories are. Keep in mind that the most prominent New Jersey online casinos offer more than 600 titles.
Casinos with online casino games in PA
There are more than six online casinos to choose from in Pennsylvania. All of the PA casino apps are available 24/7 and offer online slots, video poker, roulette and blackjack. Use this table to compare the PA online casinos.
Slots are the biggest category of games for any online casino. You can expect to see over 200 games listed and you’ll need some way to sort the list of slot titles.
Firstly, casinos will feature their most popular games. You can use filters to search by, e.g., the number of reels, game developer, progressive jackpots, and so on.
If you enjoy live casino slots, then you will be able to play a lot of these online. You can search by name, or browse the listings for IGT, Bally, or another live slot studio.
Many online casinos feature classic games, e.g., Wheel of Fortune, Cleopatra, and WolfRun. You can locate traditional three-reel slots, many of which will be new to Pennsylvania. Online slot studios like NetEnt created these.
When you browse the tiled graphics for slots to enjoy, you’ll see progressivejackpots listed underneath many of them. These pools can get massive, up to $1 million or more.
Table games at PA online casinos
Tablegames are a broad category, although it mostly covers all the casino games played on the greenfelt.
While most are card-based, dice and roulette wheels also fall under table games. Live dealer games are in this category; however, we will cover them separately.
This list is for the software-based versions:
Blackjack: There are a lot of variations of basic blackjack rules. These include games with side bets, multi-hand games and entertaining variants like Blackjack Switch, Free Bet Blackjack, and Spanish 21.
Roulette: You can bet your favorite numbers or try complex betting systems with online roulette. Where available, choose the European roulette wheel because the single zero reduces the house edge.
Casino poker games: A lot of card-based table games use poker-hand rankings. Online casinos have Caribbean Stud, three-card poker, Ultimate Texas Hold ’em, Let It Ride, Pai Gow Poker, and Casino Hold ’em.
Baccarat: Two of the three bets you can place in baccarat have a very low house edge. As long as you avoid the “tie” bet, this favorite among high rollers can be entertaining.
Craps: With two betting phases and the chance to go on a hot streak as long as no 7s are rolled, craps is a lively live casino game. This appears at some online casinos, which gives you a chance to learn the complex bets.
Live dealer casinos in Pennsylvania
In other states, live dealer table games have become the go-to for many players and soon, they’ll be available in PA. With these, you’ll bet online although the action will be dealt in real-time from studios in PA live casinos. Bets will settle automatically.
Games available include blackjack (where you play on a seven-handed table), roulette, three-card poker, Casino Hold ’em, and baccarat.
Keep in mind, you need to act before the timer runs down in these games. Your hand will be folded (or you’ll stand) depending on the game.
You can chat via text with the dealers and other players while you play. The added social element, plus the ability to watch the cards being dealt, make these increasingly popular games.
Video poker and novelty games
PA casinos allow you to play video poker games online. These include bonus poker and multi-hand variations, as well as traditional titles.
With apps, you often find only a limited number of game titles, along with account and cashier functionality. Compared to the hundreds of games you can play on your browser, this is a significant drawback.
On the positive side, having the graphics stored on your phone helps the games initialize faster. If you have ever had to wait for a bonus game to load on your mobile device after you hit it on a slot, you know how frustrating this can be.
Are the online casinos in Pennsylvania safe?
All online casinos in PA are licensed and under the jurisdiction of the PennsylvaniaGaming Control Board (PGCB).
Players are protected by know your customer (KYC) guidelines and responsible gaming laws. The games are tested for integrity and fairness. A complaint and dispute process is available if necessary.
When it comes to Pennsylvania online casinos, you really can’t get any safer.
The PGCB stated early in the licensing process that they have a deliberate, slow approach. This includes testing periods for new apps and websites. With the licenses for online casinos in Pennsylvania held by local live casinos and racetrack casinos, you’ll have trusted brand names behind each of the apps.
A major concern for players new to casino games is the fairness of the spins or deals. At regulated casinos, games are regularly audited and the expected return-to-player (RTP) percentages are published. While each game has a small edge in favor of the house, you can be sure that you are getting a fair shot at winning and it’s in line with the published figures.
Casino bonus offers in Pennsylvania
With a lot of online casinos opening in PA in quick succession, you can be sure they will be competing to attract new players.
This means 2020 is a perfect time to take advantage of their marketing budgets. Casino bonuses take four primary forms, and not every casino will offer them all. If not, the bonuses they do offer will need to be generous.
Here are the main types of casino bonuses:
No-deposit welcome bonus: A popular way to attract new players is to offer free play for registering. This bonus is usually a small amount (between $10 and $25). You’ll need to wager it a number of times before you can withdraw it. These offers can start your casino bankroll, if you get lucky. If not, then you’ll have a chance to check out the real-money slot titles without any personal risk.
Matched deposit bonuses: This is the most common form of a casino welcome bonus in PA. Your first deposit will be matched 100%, usually up to around $300, though sometimes much higher. You then get 30 to 60 days to meet the specified playthrough (wagering) requirements.
Loyalty/comp point schemes: Some casinos will tie their online comp point schemes together with their live casino. Others have separate schemes, with complex tier systems unlocking progressively bigger bonuses. For high rollers, these loyalty schemes often have a VIP level, too.
One-off promotions: How active a casino is with promos can make a big difference to your bankroll over time. These vary widely, and include double points deals, reload bonuses, promos linked to new games and free chips for sharing on social media.
While nothing is stopping you from taking up several casino bonuses, keep in mind that these are restricted to one per household for each casino. Many players have been tempted to sign up their entire family for a free-play offer only to find their accounts to be closed down quickly.
Licensed and legal PA casinos vs. offshore casinos
For many years, the only way to play online casino games in Pennsylvania was to risk your money at offshore casinos. While there were some limited legal options with sweepstakescasinos, the new legal PA internet casinos effectively remove the need to take this risk.
Offshore casinos are usually based in the Caribbean or Central America and their legal status is uncertain. While their host nation licenses them, they are not recognized or licensed by any US authority and our banks are legally obliged to block payments to them.
A greater concern is the lack of oversight and controls. Many offshore casinos have disappeared over the years, and many players have faced significant issues getting their winnings paid. If you have a dispute with an offshore casino, there is no industry body or organization to help you.
With PA casinos under the watchfuleye of the PGCB, they are licensed to accept conventional payment methods and thoroughly tested. There is no longer any reason to risk playing at an offshore site.
Geolocation and PA casinos
You will be able to access the PA online casinos fromanywhere. However, playing games for real money and making deposits can only be made within PA state lines.
Pennsylvania casinos will not allow real-money play if there is any doubt about your location. In New Jersey, this led to a lot of “falsenegatives.” Players who were on mobile devices near state borders were sometimes flagged as being outside of the state.
Fortunately, those initial problems were ironed out and geolocation technology is more reliable.
If you are using a VPN or proxyserver, you might still experience issues. Mobile users on 4G and close to the state border who experience problems can download additionalgeolocationsoftware in some cases.
Wi-Fi data is difficult to fake, and if you are not using a VPN, desktop players are unlikely to experience geolocation issues.
Full list of casinos allowed to offer online gambling in Pennsylvania
There have already been three launches in the first month of 2020 with FanDuel Casino, BetAmerica, and BetRivers Casino launching in January.
Formerly SugarHouse Casino, Rivers Philadelphia has become the first brick-and-mortar casino to offer two different online casino skins under its casino license: PlaySugarHouse and BetRivers. The latter is integrated with the Rivers Pittsburgh online sportsbook that carries the same BetRivers name. Rivers Casino Pittsburgh did not obtain an online casino license.
Similarly, the options are open for Harrah’s Philadelphia. While it is possible the casino uses the Harrah’s name for its online casino, it is also possible the property takes advantage of the better known Caesars brand and launches a Caesars Online Casino in Pennsylvania.
List of live Pennsylvania casinos
There are currently 12 licensed gambling properties in the state of Pennsylvania, with another casino in the works in Philadelphia’s Stadium Park.
According to PGCB, this includes 10 stand-alone and racetrack casinos and two smaller resort casinos. The former two are Category 1 and 2 casinos, while the latter falls into Category 3. These gaming establishments employ approximately 18,000 people and generate close to $1.4 billion in tax revenue annually.
In total, there are 12 casinos licensed to offer PA online blackjack, slots and roulette.
Mohegan Sun Pocono
Mount Airy Casino Resort
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort
Presque Isle Downs
Rivers Casino Pittsburgh
Rivers Casino Philadelphia (formerly SugarHouse Casino)
Wind Creek Casino Resort (formerly Sands Bethlehem)
Valley Forge Resort Casino
Mini-casinos: The next phase of Pennsylvania casino development
As part of its gambling expansion law passed in October 2017, the state had the ability to issue up to tenCategory 4 licenses. These licenses allow for mini-casinos with 300-750 slots. A supplemental license costing $2.5 million allows these satellite casino properties to offer up to 30 table games as well.
The process for the issuance of mini-casino licensing involves a series of auctions. The preliminary auctions began in January 2018 and were limited only to the licensed Category 1 and 2 casinos. The first license went to Penn National, who spent $50.1 million to secure a location 50 miles south of its existing Hollywood Casino. During the first round of auctions, PGCB awarded five licenses.
The PGCB ran a second round of auctions on Sept. 3, 2019 but there were no bidders this time around. As a result, the five remaining licenses will go unclaimed. In all, $114 million in license fees were raised.
Check out our dedicated mini casino tracking page to see which towns are getting satellite properties and how much each casino ponied up to get them.
Pennsylvania problem gambling support
A system for self-exclusion for problemgamblers is available at live casinos in Pennsylvania.
This program involves filling out some forms, providing a photo ID, and voluntarily requesting one-year, five-year or lifetime exclusion.
A list of excluded people is distributed to all live casinos. Then it is the casinos’ responsibility is to prevent those people from entering gaming areas.
Removal from this list (for the shorter periods) does not happen automatically. After the period expires, individuals must request their removal personally.
Online gambling prevents new challenges when it comes to the management of problem gambling. For the majority to enjoy safe gambling online, support systems need to be in place for players who experience issues.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Commission manages this support program.
Here is what legal Pennsylvania online casinos must provide:
A prominentlink to their responsible gambling information page.
Tools for time-out, self-exclusion and betting limits.
A list of questions to assess whether you or someone you know has a gambling problem.
The Pennsylvania casino industry is relatively young. Casinos only became legal in 2004. Yet, in the dozen or so years in existence, the industry quickly became a powerhouse. Now it is the second-largest commercial casino industry in the country judging by gross revenue, trailing only Nevada.
Thanks to steep tax rates, Pennsylvania casinos actually generate more tax revenue for the state than Nevada does. That number will get even bigger thanks to the gambling expansion law passed in the fall of 2017.
Here is a look at the history of the Pennsylvania casino industry, starting with the latest news and moving back towards the casino industry’s more humble beginnings:
After a summer of bickering, the state legislature drafted a new version of the gambling expansion package, which both the House and Senate passed. Gov. Tom Wolf signed it into law on Monday, Oct. 30, 2018. The new law allows for a wide range of new gambling ventures, including:
It also offered a new class of license eliminating the amenity fee in place at Valley Forge and Lady Luck Nemacolin. Valley Forge paid the fee immediately after the bill became law.
Legislation which would legalize and regulate online gambling in Pennsylvania, and offer online gaming licenses to the state’s 12 casino properties first, was passed by the Senate. In June 2017 it was amended and passed by the House, sending it back to the Senate.
Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin opened in July 2013.
Valley Forge Casino Resort opened its doors in March 2012 becoming the first Category 3 licensed casino in Pennsylvania.
After several ownership changes and failed financing plans with no construction to date, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board voted to revoke the Foxwoods Casino Philadelphia gaming license in December 2010.
SugarHouse Casino opened its first phase in Philadelphia in September 2010.
Pennsylvania passed a law in January 2010, authorizing table game operations at the state’s licensed racino, casino, and resort casino properties. The law also clarified the size and scope of gaming and other operations at the state’s three different categories of gaming licensees, including:
Allowing up to 250 table games and 5,000 slot machines at Category 1 racino facilities
Allowing 250 table games and 5,000 slot machines at Category 2 stand-alone casinos. These properties were also authorized to operate amenities including restaurants, spas, and entertainment options, but not hotels.
Allowing up to 600 slot machines and 50 table games at Category 3 resort casinos. These gaming facilities can include attached hotels.
Parx Casino standalone gaming facility opened its doors in December .
Rivers Casino opened in Pittsburgh, PA’s Chateau neighborhood along the Ohio River in September.
Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem opened on the Bethlehem Works development site in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in May 2009. Table games were added in July 2010. The property officially changed ownership to the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in June 2019. The casino is now known as Wind Creek Bethlehem.
Hollywood Casino opened at Penn National racetrack in February 2008.
Mount Airy Casino Resort officially opened in the Poconos in November 2007, becoming the first Pennsylvania casino with lodging.
The Meadows Casino began as a temporary casino adjacent to the racetrack in Washington County, PA in June 2007. The permanent casino opened in 2009.
Presque Isle Downs casino and horse racing track near Erie, Pennsylvania opened in February 2007.
A slots parlor began operation at Harrah’s Philadelphia racetrack on the Chester waterfront. Table games went live at the property in 2010.
Parx Casino opened as a temporary gaming facility at the former Philadelphia Park racetrack in December 2006.
Foxwoods Casino Philadelphia is granted one of five stand-alone casino licenses for a soon-to-be-built property located along the Delaware River in South Philadelphia. The project fell apart, resulting in PGCB revoking the license in 2010.
Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs became the state’s first slot parlor after opening its doors in November 2006 at a harness track near Wilkes-Barre.
State lawmakers made a number of amendments to horse track security bill authorizing both the use of 61,000 slot machines at racetracks and other new casino locations across Pennsylvania. Lawmakers rushed the bill through the House and Senate over the Fourth of July weekend, then quickly became law before any real opposition to casino gambling had a chance to oppose it.
The bill ultimately authorized the issue of three separate categories of slot machine licenses. These included:
Category 1 for existing racetracks.
Category 2 for designated tourist areas, including two in Philadelphia and one in Pittsburgh.
Category 3 for resorts.
Former Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell runs for Pennsylvania Governor. He wins on a campaign that includes support for the idea of allowing slot machines at racetracks in an effort to lower property taxes.
Under Then-Governor Tom Ridge the State Legislature came close to legalizing riverboat casinos. The state’s anti-gambling movement began to grow and Gov. Ridge said he would veto any gambling bill not approved by referendum. Eventually the entire idea was scrapped.
A statewide survey found 48 percent of Pennsylvania residents supported legalized riverboat gambling and just 38 percent were opposed. However, Then-Governor Robert P. Casey claimed to be opposed to gambling and threatened to veto any gambling legislation passed in the state.
First developed under Philadelphia Mayor Wilson Goode, and championed by mayoral successor Ed Rendell, a proposal to allow riverboat gambling in Philadelphia made it to the state legislature. The claim was it would create $25 million in new revenue for the city and 11,500 new jobs. However, the House of Representatives voted against it in November by a margin of 118-81.
Resorts Casino Hotel opened in Atlantic City, New Jersey, becoming the first legal casino in Atlantic City. Resorts and the rest of the Atlantic City Boardwalk is within 60 miles of Philadelphia. It quickly become evident that Pennsylvania residents are some of the budding Atlantic City casino industry’s best customers.