Gambling In Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania bettors have among the most diverse betting options in the country, and PennStakes.com is your one-stop shop for everything gambling in the Keystone State. Here you will find trusted and up-to-date Pennsylvania-specific gambling information that helps you place safe and secure legal wagers at the best online PA gaming sites.

Pennsylvania is the largest state to allow legal casino, poker and sports betting online, though the market does have high tax rates on operators. Still, the menu of choices continues to expand, and our experts have you covered with the latest news, unbiased reviews and more. Bookmark PennStakes.com for the best offers and to know when new products and sites are launched.

Latest Gambling News in Pennsylvania

Part of our mission is to consistently provide up-to-date Pennsylvania gambling news and developments. We do that both with stories and through social media. As new betting sites launch and new issues and legislation emerge, we will have the latest details for you.

We Are Pennsylvania’s Gambling Experts

We Are Pennsylvania’s Gambling Experts

We have a veteran team with decades of experience covering Pennsylvania and gambling. We are dedicated to staying abreast of every aspect of PA gaming and have extensive knowledge of the state’s online sports betting and casino industry. Additionally, our expert reviewers regularly evaluate and review Pennsylvania’s legal gaming sites and apps.

Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board - Certified Registered Gaming Service Provider - 118095

Everything You Need to Know About Gambling in PA

Everything You Need to Know About Gambling in PA

Pennsylvania closed out 2020 with a record month and began 2021 with another, so the future looks exceedingly bright. Despite concerns that higher tax rates on operators would limit choices for consumers, additional sports betting and casino sites continue to launch.

The state takes a backseat to no one in terms of breadth of offerings. Sweeping gambling legislation in 2017 (a decade after the first brick-and-mortar casino opened) laid the groundwork for explosive growth in a state with an existing gaming infrastructure already in place. The PA lottery debuted its online options in 2018, and retail Pennsylvania sports betting went live in November of that same year. By summer 2019, online sports wagering and online casino sites were available in the Keystone State.

One area for potential growth remains the online poker market, where only one operator was operating in the state to open 2021. There is hope that with a new U.S. Justice Department interpretation of the Wire Act that Pennsylvania players may soon join the interstate compact that pools poker players from several states, including New Jersey and Nevada.

Launch Dates

Launch Dates

When Gov. Tom Wolf signed bill H 271 in October 2017, Pennsylvania became a national leader in online gaming, offering more options than any other state at the time. With that stroke of a pen, Pennsylvania gamblers could enjoy online slots, table games, online poker, the lottery, video gambling terminals, keno, fantasy sports and virtual sports from the comfort of their homes or on-the-go on mobile devices. The legislation also set the stage for sports betting, which became legal less than a year later when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.

Gambling TypeLegalized
PA LotteryAugust 1971
Retail CasinosJanuary 2007
Daily Fantasy SportsMay 2018
PA Online LotteryMay 2018
Retail sports bettingNovember 2018
Online sports bettingJune 2019
Online CasinosJuly 2019
Online PokerNovember 2019
PA Gaming Operators

PA Gaming Operators

State law allows for up to 25 licenses for permanent gaming operations, and each can have an online casino and sports betting platform. Because of that, Pennsylvania has a wealth of online sportsbook and casino operators, including some of the biggest in the nation: DraftKings, FanDuel, Unibet, Caesars and BetMGM.

SiteOnline CasinoOnline SportsOnline Poker
BetAmerica Yes Yes No
BetMGM Yes Yes No
BetRivers Yes Yes No
Caesars Yes Yes No
DraftKings Yes Yes No
FanDuel Yes Yes No
Hollywood/Barstool Yes Yes No
PlayLive! Casino Yes No No
Parx Yes Yes No
PlaySugarHouse YesYes No
PokerStars/FOX Bet Yes Yes Yes
Unibet Yes Yes No
Wind Creek Yes No No
PA Laws and Regulations

PA Laws and Regulations

The legal age to play poker, bet on casino games or wager on sports in Pennsylvania is 21, whether it be online or in a retail sportsbook/casino/poker room. If you are 18, you can bet on horse racing, the lottery or Daily Fantasy Sports.

PA state law allows for up to 25 licenses, under the authority of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, for permanent gaming operations. Those are broken down into four categories: racinos (6 open; 7 allowed), stand-alone casinos (4 open; 5 allowed), resort casinos (2 open; 3 allowed) and satellite or “mini” casinos (5 planned; 10 allowed). All are eligible for online casino games as well sports betting, both retail and online, subject to state license fees and approval. Sportsbooks must be tethered to a land based casino.

Pennsylvania’s tax rates are higher than New Jersey and have been cited as one of the reasons the state has lagged its neighbor in terms of new offerings. Not only does the state charge a $10 million fee to obtain a gambling license, but its tax rate is also 54% for slots and 16% for table games (it is 15% for each in NJ). Online sports betting revenue is taxed at 36% (13% in NJ).

PA Gambling Revenue

PA Gambling Revenue

Pennsylvania sports betting handle topped $100 million total in March 2019 after just five months after sports betting launched in the state and cleared $1 billion by November 2019. By December 2020, the number was $5 billion. Sports betting revenue saw a similar surge, crossing $200 million total by October 2020. The state went over $30 million in a month for the first time in October 2020.

Slots revenue cleared the $25 billion total in February 2019 while table game revenue passed the $5 billion total in May 2017. Total slot handle in the state over the years is closing in on $400 billion.

PA gross gambling revenue monthly records:

  • Sports betting: $37.35M (November 2020)
  • Online sports betting: $32.89M (December 2020)
  • Casino (table games): $86.92M (July 2021)
  • Online casino (banking tables) $31.399M (May 2021)
  • Online casino (non-banking poker tables) $5.25M (April 2020)
  • Slots: $233.15M (March 2012)
  • Online slots $67.249M (May 2021)
  • Video Gaming Terminals $3.851M (April 2021)

FAQ

Yes, it is legal to gamble online in Pennsylvania, and the state offers among the most diverse options out there, ranging from online poker and casinos to sports betting and horse racing, including through national online platforms, such as TVG and TwinSpires.

You must be 21 or older to gamble for real money at an online PA gambling site, whether it be casino gambling (such as blackjack, video poker, slots), poker or placing a sports bet. You can play the lottery or wager on horse racing if you are 18.

In addition to the many online offerings (sports betting, casino games, slots, poker), Pennsylvania players can gamble at a dozen licensed land-based casinos and racinos. There are also 15 retail sportsbooks in operation. Additionally, Pennsylvania has a half-dozen racetracks and several OTBs (off-track betting parlors) that offer thoroughbred, harness and simulcast betting. State law allows up to seven racinos (which feature a blend of horse racing betting and traditional casino games), up to 5 stand-alone casinos, up to 3 resort casinos and up to 10 satellite casinos (which are essentially mini stand-alone casinos).

Yes, you must be physically located in PA to place a bet online, however you do not need to be a Pennsylvania resident. Operators use geolocation software to determine your location. However, you can create and fund online gambling site accounts from anywhere.

Among the many sports you can get on in Pennsylvania are football (NFL, college), basketball (NBA, WNBA, college, European leagues), baseball, hockey, soccer, tennis, golf, motorsports, cricket and rugby.

In addition to online casino games, poker, sports betting and horse racing, you can also play the Pennsylvania lottery online.

Yes, DraftKings is legal in Pennsylvania. It operates an online sportsbook and online casino in addition to its longstanding DFS options.

Yes, FanDuel is legal in Pennsylvania. It operates an online casino and online sportsbook, as well as many DFS offerings.

You should avoid offshore online gambling in Pennsylvania because those sites are not licensed and regulated by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). Offshore sites do not provide players with the same safeguards and legal recourse should there be an issue accessing funds, and there is no guarantee the games are fair. With so many legal online options in Pennsylvania, there is no need to play on risky offshore sites. Stick with a legal PA online casino or sports gambling site.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) regulates online gambling in Pennsylvania. All legal PA online casinos must be licensed by the PGCB.

Pennsylvania imposes some of the highest tax rates and fees of all online gambling states. In addition to a $10 million fee to obtain an online gambling license, tax rates are 54% for slot machines and 16% for table games (compared to 15% for both slots and table games in neighboring New Jersey). Revenue from online sports wagers in PA is taxed at 36%, compared to 13% in New Jersey. Higher tax rates lead to fewer choices for bettors.

A $10 million fee and a partnership with one of the state’s land-based casinos or racetracks are required for an online casino license featuring a full complement of gambling options (online slots, table games and poker). According to Pennsylvania law, only these racinos and brick-and-mortar casinos can seek a sports betting license. To apply, each must pay a $10 million license fee and meet specific guidelines and regulations. All gambling licenses must be approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

Yes, you can bet on horse racing in Pennsylvania. The state has three thoroughbred tracks (Parx, Penn National and Presque Isle Downs) and three harness tracks (Harrah’s Philadelphia, The Meadows and The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono) that offer live and simulcast races. PA also has several off-track betting sites, and you can wager on horse racing online through such national platforms as TVG and TwinSpires.

Responsible Gambling

It is part of our mission to be a resource for gambling education and provide support information to Pennsylvania bettors who may have a gambling problem. We provide contacts for support groups such as the Council on Compulsive Gambling of Pennsylvania (1-215-643-4542) and the PGCB helpline (1-800-GAMBLER). You can also ask the PGCB to instruct state-regulated casinos and sportsbooks to exclude you from playing for a period of time.

Contributors

Michael Kates

Reviewer since August 2018

More than 30 years working in online gaming and sports journalism. I hope to explain the growing US online casino market to help those new to internet gambling have a better understanding.

Interests: Online casinos & sportsbooks, Online gaming legislation