Learn more about Pennsylvania’s land-based casinos with our in-depth reviews below. Get the latest news about PA gambling here.
List of Pennsylvania casinos
There are currently 12 casino gambling properties in the state of Pennsylvania.
According to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, this includes 10 stand-alone and racetrack casinos and two smaller resort casinos. These gaming establishments employ approximately 18,000 people and generate close to $1.4 billion in tax revenue annually.
Click on any of the casinos below to learn more about that property.
- Harrah’s Philadelphia
- Hollywood Casino
- Meadows Casino
- Mohegan Sun Pocono
- Mount Airy Casino Resort
- Nemacolin Woodlands Resort
- Parx Casino
- Presque Isle Downs
- Rivers Casino
- Sands Casino
- SugarHouse Casino
- Valley Forge Resort Casino
The Pennsylvania casino industry came to be along the following timeline.
Considering Atlantic City, riverboat gambling
May 26, 1978
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 and it quickly become evident that Pennsylvania residents are some of the budding Atlantic City casino industry’s best customers.
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.
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.
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.
New regime thinks slots
Former Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell runs for Pennsylvania Governor and wins on a campaign that includes support for the idea of allowing slot machines at racetracks in an effort to lower property taxes.
State lawmakers made a number of amendments to horse track security bill authorizing the use of 61,000 slot machines at racetracks and other new casino locations across Pennsylvania. The bill was rushed through the House and Senate over the Fourth of July weekend and 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.
The 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.
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.
Parx Casino opened as a temporary gaming facility at the former Philadelphia Park racetrack in December 2006.
A slots parlor began operation at Harrah’s Philadelphia racetrack on the Chester waterfront. Table games went live at the property in 2010.
The Presque Isle Downs casino and horse racing track near Erie, Pennsylvania opened in February 2007.
The Meadows Casino began opened as a temporary casino adjacent to the racetrack in Washington County, PA in June 2007. The permanent casino opened in 2009.
The Mount Airy Casino Resort officially opened in the Poconos in November 2007, becoming the first Pennsylvania casino with lodging.
Hollywood Casino opened at the Penn National racetrack in February 2008. Table games were added in July 2010.
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 Rivers Casino opened in Pittsburgh, PA’s Chateau neighborhood along the Ohio River.
The Parx Casino standalone gaming facility opened its doors in December 2009.
Pennsylvania passed a law 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.
SugarHouse Casino opened its first phase in Philadelphia in September 2010.
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.
The Valley Forge Casino Resort opened its doors in March 2012 becoming the first Category 3 licensed casino in Pennsylvania.
The Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin opened in July 2013.
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.
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. The new law allows for a wide range of new gambling ventures, including online casinos, online poker, video gambling terminals (VGTs), daily fantasy sports (DFS), satellite casinos, and the potential for sports betting in the future.
It also offered a new class of license eliminating the amenity fee in place at Valley Forge and Lady Luck Nemacolin.
This white paper gives you an idea of the scope of the new gambling policies and what kind of revenue it should generate going forward.