Online Casino Play Rises As Pennsylvanians Stay Home

Posted on March 27, 2020

With parts of the state under stay-at-home orders and many heeding the suggestion to hunker down at home to flatten the curve, Pennsylvania has seen an increase in online casino and poker play.

The coronavirus pandemic shuttered Pennsylvania’s twelve brick-and-mortar casinos. PA Governor Tom Wolf recently extended shut-down-orders to ten counties in the state through April 6.

PA’s eight online casinos remain open.

PlaySugarHouse and BetRivers jackpot surge

Mattias Stetz, the C.O.O. of Rust Street Interactive, which operates PlaySugarHouse.com and BetRivers.com says they are seeing traditional sports bettors migrate to the casino from the sportsbook due to the number of league cancellations.

“We’ve seen quite a surge in online casino play. We expect that uptick to continue while Americans are being asked to stay at home looking for ways to be entertained.”

A Pennsylvania man won a $278,430.23 Divine Fortune jackpot on a $1 bet on March 21. A New Jersey woman won a nearly identical Divine Fortune jackpot at PlaySugarHouse.com on March 17.

PlaySugarHouse and BetRivers expect more jackpots as online play increases.

Divine Fortune is responsible for more mega jackpot payouts than any other progressive slot in New Jersey. At PlaySugarHouse.com, the Divine Fortune jackpot has hit 13 times in Pennsylvania since it launched in the summer of 2019. It is the most popular progressive slot in PA.

“During this very difficult and unprecedented period of time while most are staying home, it’s nice that we can provide another outlet for entertainment and a chance to win life changing jackpots,” said Stetz. “It proves that even with a small bet, our players can win big.”

Table games rule at FanDuel online casino

FanDuel’s name might be synonymous with sports betting but its online casino, like its sportsbook, rocketed to the top spot in February with $238.6 million in table games wagers.

With major sports leagues on hiatus, FanDuel casino reported increased activity at table games, primarily for blackjack and roulette.

Kevin Hennessy, FanDuel’s Director of Publicity commented:

“We look forward to everyone’s favorite leagues returning whenever it is safe for them to do so. In the meantime, we remain as committed as ever to giving our fans more ways to win. We’ve seen a jump in new casino players in the last week in PA as casino games become some of the most appealing content within our sportsbook app.”

FanDuel’s iGaming platform features 12 slots, two types of blackjack and three types of roulette. Currently, they are offering 100% back on losses during the the first 24 hours of play.

“We’re always looking to build on our offering and provide the best possible experience to FanDuel players in PA,” said Hennessy. “We were already working on adding more games and given the recent activity/interest in casino, we’ve accelerated that effort and plan to have new games in market in the very near future.”

PokerStars packed with players

PokerStars PA, Pennsylvania’s only online poker room, has seen the number of seats more than double in the past week.

PlayPennsylvania monitored poker traffic which peaked on Saturday, March 22 at 3,616 seats filled. 

The lone poker operator in PA (for now) is also rumored to be launching an exciting festival soon. The Spring Championship of Online Poker is set to begin April 4.

With $2 million in total guarantees, it would be the biggest PokerStars series yet in the US.

Help for problem gambling

Help is still available for those with a gambling problem, despite shutdowns. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board launched a new website, www.ResponsiblePlay.pa.gov in March, which is Problem Gambling Awareness Month.

The website contains information on how to recognize the warning signs of a gambling problem and to find available treatment options in Pennsylvania. 1-800-GAMBLER is also an available resource.

It’s possible that social distancing and isolation can increase risk factors that lead to compulsive gambling. The National Council on Problem Gambling offers many resources for help online.

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Katie Kohler

Katie Kohler is a Philadelphia-area based award-winning journalist. She covers the Pennsylvania gambling industry with an emphasis on sports betting, online casino/poker and the lottery.

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