The PA online gambling market is now firing on all cylinders. Even online poker is up and running, with a huge turnout on the first day of testing.
You have multiple online casinos and PA sports betting sites to choose from, with even more on the way.
If you want to get playing right now, there are plenty of great regulated gambling sites and legal online casino sites in PA you can get started on in a matter of minutes. Take a look at the best options available to Pennsylvania customers.
Casino players have a handful of options when it comes to online gambling and there is only one poker site accepting PA players. These legal PA gamblings sites are our top suggestions of where you should play:
On Oct. 26, 2017. Gov. Tom Wolf signed H 271 into law, enacting widespread gambling expansion that extends beyond just PA online casinos.
Here is a look at exactly what the law authorizes:
The law allowed the state to regulate and legalize these activities, but the law does not mean that every online casino site or sports betting app is suddenly legal in Pennsylvania. Only sites vetted, approved, and overseen by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) are legal.
All of the legal real-money gambling sites are very clearly tied to a land-based casino in the state. For example, FanDuel Sportsbook works in tandem with Valley Forge and BetRivers is the brand of the two Rivers Casinos in the state.
Legal online casinos in Pennsylvania launched in July 2019. After starting with three sites, the industry is starting to grow at a slightly faster clip. The state awarded 10 casinos interactive gaming licenses. Additionally, the PGCB is currently considering allowing MGM Resorts and Golden Nugget NJ to operate in PA.
This is the latest info on all of these online casino projects:
|Casino||Launch||Bonus||Android app?||iOS access?|
|Unibet||Nov. 2019||$10 free||Yes||Yes||Play now!|
|PlaySugarHouse||July 2019||$250||Yes||Yes||Play now!|
|Hollywood (Penn National)||July 2019||$25 free||Yes||Yes||Play now!|
|PokerStars Casino||Nov. 2019||Yes||Yes|
|Presque Isle Downs||2020||-||-|
|Stadium Park Philly Live! Casino||N/A||-||-|
|Golden Nugget NJ||N/A||-||-|
Football season is underway, which means sportsbook operators are pushing to launch during sports bettings most lucrative season. Every casino in Pennsylvania, save for Lady Luck Nemacolin, has applied for a $10 million sports betting license.
Here is a look at where each operator is in the process:
|DraftKings (The Meadows)||Live as of Nov. 2019||Android and iOS||$25 free||Play now!|
|FOX Bet (Mount Airy)||Live as of Sept. 2019||Android and iOS||$20 free||Play now!|
|FanDuel Sportsbook PA (Valley Forge)||Live as of July 2019||Android and iOS||$500||Play now!|
|Unibet (Mohegan Sun Pocono)||Live as of Nov. 2019||Android and iOS via GeoGuard||$20 free||Play now!|
|PlaySugarHouse Sportsbook PA||Live as of May 2019||Android and iOS via GeoGuard||$250||Play now!|
|BetRivers Online Sportsbook||Live as of June 2019||Android and iOS via GeoGuard||$250||Play now!|
|Parx Casino Sportsbook||Live as of June 2019||Android|
|BetAmerica (Presque Isle Downs)||Live as of Dec. 2019||GeoGuard web access|
|Caesars Sport (Harrah's Philadelphia)||2020||Yes|
|Hollywood Casino at Penn National||2020||Yes|
|Live! Hotel & Casino||2020||No|
There are currently eight online sportsbooks, five online casinos, and one online poker option in Pennsylvania. Here is a look at when each of them launched:
On Tuesday, May 28, PlaySugarHouse Pennsylvania began testing on the first-ever PA online sportsbook. At launch, the site kicked off with several of the same elements present on its New Jersey site, including Jackpot Parlays, in-game betting, cash-out betting, and the same deposit bonus offer. The only thing missing? Access for iPhone users.
SugarHouse had the market to itself for nearly a month, but Parx eventually doubled the number of online sportsbooks on June 24 when it began testing. The final product bore a strong resemblance to the Bet Builder function introduced at retail launch, making for a seamless transition for players going from brick and mortar to online. That is unless they had an iPhone.
Just one day after Parx launched its online sportsbook, Rivers Casino Pittsburgh followed suit with testing on BetRivers. The two ended up receiving final approval at the same time, as BetRivers only needed two days of testing given its sister casino’s successful PlaySugarHouse launch.
After being the first casino to launch a retail sportsbook, Hollywood Casino got to notch a second “first” in its belt. On July 15, the Penn National and IGT product HollywoodCasino.com officially began testing, bringing slots and table games to desktop and Android users.
Just hours after HollywoodCasino.com started taking customers, Parx Online Casino followed suit. The GAN-powered online casino product was the first site and, up to now, the only site with a blackjack game for players. Additionally, the site offered slots, roulette, and video poker.
You would think being third to launch would be a big disadvantage. However, PlaySugarHouse online casino perhaps made the biggest splash of the three casinos because it brought both a new casino site and an answer for iPhone owners. In tandem with GeoComply’s GeoGuard app, SugarHouse offered iPhone users a chance to both bet on sports and play online casino games via their phone’s browser.
The fourth PA online sportsbook totally changed the paradigm for what to expect from a PA betting app. When FanDuel Sportsbook PA launched, it brought with it the first integrated wallet with New Jersey, meaning you could seamlessly travel between the two states with the same app, same account, and same sports betting bankroll. Moreover? They brought with launch the first iPhone app option for PA bettors.
The launch of FOX Bet Sportsbook in PA brought with it the artillery that comes with a major media company. In addition to Android and iPhone apps and sign-up deals, the site also brought a massive marketing campaign with promos centering on FOX Sport’s biggest personalities like Colin Cowherd and Cris Carter.
Online poker players impatiently awaited the arrival of the state’s first online poker site for months. When it launched, it was only a day or two before the PokerStars PA site surpassed the traffic of the PokerStars NJ site. But it wasn’t just poker, it came with the PokerStars Casino product and integrated in FOX Bet as well.
It looked like DraftKings might not find a way into Pennsylvania, but once it partnered with The Meadows Casino, it was only a couple of months before its app debuted in PA as the state’s sixth online sportsbook.
Unibet debuted with a double feature of both an online sportsbook and an online casino. The site partnered with Mohegan Sun Pocono to offer online gambling. iIt launched with an Android app and iPhone access via the GeoGuard app.
BetAmerica and Presque Isle Downs caught people by surprise with the sneakily quiet launch of BetAmerica Sportsbook shortly before the end of the year. It launched, but did so without an app and only GeoGuard browser access.
There are still more apps to come in 2020. Several major players in the state, like Harrah’s Philadelphia, still have not gone online.
Pennsylvania online casinos rolled out on July 15, 2019.
Months later, PokerStars Casino debuted alongside PokerStars PA online poker site. Unibet Casino followed a couple of weeks later.
Each of these online casinos offer relatively small libraries of games. Things that are commonplace in New Jersey, like live dealer games, are still a ways off in Pennsylvania.
Why such slow goings in Pennsylvania?
The short answer is the Wire Act. Ever since the Department of Justice released a new, much stricter, interpretation of the Wire Act in January 2019, Pennsylvania regulators have taken an extremely conservative approach to online gambling. Part of that approach includes having every operator and every casino game provider stand up separate servers in Pennsylvania. Both operators and game providers planned on sharing New Jersey servers with their PA products. The change in regulations threw a wrench in their plans…and their timeline.
Where this change is hurting PA online casino customers is not just that casino sites are launching very quickly. The other big issue is, that with few operators successfully jumping through the hoops required to offer games in Pennsylvania, there are just not a lot of game options for players. Ideally, the number of providers will grow in 2020, but history suggests we should expect continued slow rollouts on the online casino front.
Online sportsbooks, on the other hand, are operating at a faster clip. Currently, there are eight betting apps to choose from.
After initial slim pickings for iPhone users seeking to sports bet in Pennsylvania, they now have a glut of options to choose from. Parx is currently the only sportsbook without an iPhone option.
Unibet, BetRivers, and PlaySugarHouse do not have an iOS app for sportsbook users, but all three offer browser-based betting in -tandem with the GeoGuard app, a geolocation app from GeoComply that allows for browser gaming.
The launch of FanDuel Sportsbook was when the market for Pennsylvania sports betting really started to open up. The sportsbook combined the PA and New Jersey app into a single venture for both Android and iOS, with the site geolocating you to determine what you can bet on. DraftKings Sportsbook similarly offers a single app that works in all states where DraftKings accepts regulated sports bets.
FOX Bet also launched with both iOS and Android options when it went live in September 2019, but it segregates apps based on states and offers a separate PA and NJ version for users.
The big perk of this for users is the shared wallet across states. If you go back and forth between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, no more worrying about whether or not the right account is properly funded.
The vertical of online gambling that is the slowest-going of all is Pennsylvania online poker. The first PA poker site, PokerStars PA, did not even go live until November 2019, over two years after the law legalizing and regulating it passed.
The state expects other online poker sites to launch. Given the slow start though, it may be a while before new sites launch. In theory, these seven casinos are all supposed to offer online poker, but Mount Airy, through PokerStars is the only one to launch so far:
The next most likely candidate to launch appears to be WSOP.com, which has offered a couple of hints to suggest it might be up in running in Pennsylvania in time for the 2020 WSOP, which begins in late May. The other contender to get going in the Keystone State next is partypoker, which is partnered with Valley Forge Casino. Both of these sites are operational in New Jersey. WSOP.com is also available in Nevada and Delaware.
Before you get too excited about the prospect of playing online poker with players in New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada, which share a compacting agreement, be advised that the PGCB’s conservative approach to the Wire Act means compacting may take some time.
Compacting with other states is possible in the law and PGCB regulations, but uncertainty about which interpretation of the Wire Act will prevail means it is unlikely the PGCB will greenlight shared player pools until pending court action around the DOJ and the 2019 Wire Act is complete.
With so much uncertainty around online poker, keep an eye on the latest news and developments on the subject here at PlayPennsylvania.