PA Online Casino Guide

The Keystone State of Pennsylvania, or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to give the state its official title, is home to more than 13 million residents, ranking it as the fifth most-populous state ahead of Illinois, Ohio, and Georgia. It should not come as a surprise that a large percentage of those Pennsylvanians love to gamble, and gamble online at that. But, are they playing at online casinos in Pennsylvania legally, or should they be heading to one of the many brick-and-mortar casinos within the state's borders to have a good time?

Legal Online Gambling in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania residents have enjoyed fully legalized online gambling since October 2017, when Governor Tom Wolf signed what is known as the omnibus gambling bill, or HB 271.

Gambling Omnibus Bill: HB 271 spans a whopping 209 pages, making it perfect bedtime reading material for anyone interested in playing at Pennsylvania online casinos. Jokes aside, the HB 271 bill was vitally important for Pennsylvania because it paved the way for legal online poker, online casinos, and Daily Fantasy Sports in the Keystone State.

Online Gambling Legalized: Under the terms of the bill, any land-based casino is permitted to apply to run an online poker site, online slots, or online table games.

Online Casino Licenses: The licenses are not cheap at $4 million each, but the government has created a bundle for all three activities for $10 million.

Other Forms of Legal Gambling in Pennsylvania

Many forms of gambling are now legal in Pennsylvania following the passing of HB 271.

  • Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board: The Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act established the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, which oversees all the regulatory and enforcement matters in the state. 
  • New Legal Forms of Gambling: In addition to horse racing, video gaming terminals are permitted at truck stops, airports, and in what the state refers to as online portals. 

Gambling in one of the state's 14 casinos is legal. Casinos in Pennsylvania come under one of four categories:

  • Category 1: Horse race track casinos
  • Category 2: Stand-alone casinos
  • Category 3: Resort casinos
  • Category 4: Satellite casinos

What to Know about Pennsylvania Gambling Expansion

  • How Many Slots per Casino?: All casinos are permitted to run up to 5,000 slots.
  • How Many Table Games?: Also, casinos can have up to 250 table games, although resort casinos have a 50-table game limit.
  • Pennsylvania Casino Stats: Brick-and-mortar casinos are immensely popular. Within a year of Sportsbook, the first seven casinos generated revenues of over $1 billion, yielding tax revenues of $760 million; you can see why the state's government was eager to legalize online gambling.
  • Pennsylvania Online Casinos: PA online casino sites are now legal. Most of the brick-and-mortar casinos and some of the racinos have their own online casinos now.
  • Pennsylvania Mobile Sports Betting: Casinos also have land-based sportsbooks, online sports betting, and mobile sports betting apps. 
  • Pennsylvania DFS Sites: Some of those same sites are tied to popular daily fantasy sports sites.
  • Satellite Casinos: In the coming years, up to 10 new mini-casinos are being built across the state. Because the auction process lost some steam, a full ten new satellite casinos likely won't appear. Still, every corner of Pennsylvania will have land-based casino venues.

History of Legal Gambling in Pennsylvania

Gambling has been part of Pennsylvania since the passing of the Race Horse Industry Reform Act in 1959.

1959 - Pari-Mutuel Betting Legalized: Pennsylvania legalizes racehorse tracks with pari-mutuel betting. 

1963 - Meadows Racetrack Launched: Patrons could place bets at racetracks, with the first racetrack, Meadows Racetrack, Sportsbook in 1963.

1988 - OTBs Legalized: The Pennsylvania government legalized off-track betting in 1988, becoming the fifth state to do so. Each off-track location is affiliated with a specific racetrack. There are seven such off-track venues at present from a maximum permitted 23.

1971 - Pennsylvania State Lottery: There has been a state lottery since 1971. It was initially set up to provide property tax relief for persons over 65 years of age and ultimately led to numerous attempts to legalize casinos in general.

1980s - Casino Initiatives Fail: However, in the 1980s, Pennsylvanians were apprehensive about gambling, mostly due to drawing comparisons to Nevada, which they believed was full of corruption and criminals.

1990s - Riverboat Casino Bills Failed: The early 1990s saw a push for gambling on riverboats, but this never happened either. Another push in 1999 also fell short.

2000s - Racino Referendum Failed: A bill was approved by the State House, which would have led to a referendum to decide if Pennsylvania should have slots at four racetracks in addition to allowing video poker at taverns. However, the referendum proposal was never scheduled for a vote.

2004 - Race Horse Development and Gaming Act: It was not until 2004 that major strides were taken toward legalizing gambling in the state. The Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act set the wheels in motion. The moral and religious reasons that used to oppose gambling started becoming less of a factor because newer generations of Pennsylvanians became adults. They could see the benefits of heavily taxing casinos and other gambling venues.

2017 - Online Gambling Legalization Passes: This ultimately led to the 2017 so-called omnibus bills signed into state law by Governor Tom Wolf. HB 271 was passed by a margin of 31-19. The signing of the bill legalized online casinos, online poker, video gaming terminals at truck stops, and granted permission to open up to ten satellite casinos within state borders.

2022: Pennsylvania Gambling Taxes: Not only does the government require $4 million for a license, but operators are also taxed at a rate of 14%. However, it levies a 54% tax on slots, which is very prohibitive for smaller operators.

Top Pennsylvania Land-Based Casinos and Racetracks

There are currently 16 casinos in Pennsylvania. Five are stand-alone casinos, two are considered resorts, and the remaining venues are either racinos at racetracks or mini-casinos. Nine of those venues have a PA online casino partner affiliated with them.

Best Brick-and-Mortar Casinos in Pennsylvania

Penn National Gaming, known for the Hollywood Casinos, is a major operator in Pennsylvania. Wind Creek Hospitality, owned by an Alabama Native American tribe, owns the largest casino. Wind Creek Bethlehem is located in a suburb of Philadelphia. Also, Rivers Casino Philadelphia used to be named SugarHouse Casino. 

Finally, readers should note that most of the PA land-based casinos also operate online casinos and poker sites. 

Pennsylvania Casino City Gambling Options
Rivers Casino Philadelphia Philadelphia 3000 slots, 50+ table games, sportsbook
Live! Casino Philadelphia Philadelphia 2100 slots, 150 table games, sportsbook, poker room
Rivers Casino Pittsburgh Pittsburgh 3000 slots, 107 table games, sportsbook, poker room
Hollywood Casino Morgantown Morgantown 750 slots, 30 table games, sportsbook
Mount Airy Casino Mount Pocono 1800 slots, 70 table games, sportsbook, poker room
Hollywood Casino York York 500 slots, 20 table games, sportsbook
Live! Casino Pittsburgh Pittsburgh 750 slots, 30 table games
Valley Forge Casino Resort King of Prussia 850 slots, 48 table games
Wind Creek Bethlehem Bethlehem 3000 slots, 176 table games, poker room
Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin 600 slots, 27 table games

Best Racinos in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania also has a number of racetrack casinos, usually called racinos. The state allowed the traditional racetracks to operate slots parlors after 2005. Since then, the racino industry gained the ability to operate online gambling sites, too. 

Racino Name City Gambling Options
Parx Casino Bensalem 3200 slots and VLTs, 1888 table games, sportsbook, poker room
Harrah's Philadelphia Chester 2263 slots, 145 table games, sportsbook, poker room
Hollywood Casino at Penn National Grantville 2002 slots, 85 table games, poker room
Hollywood Casino at The Meadows Washington 2500 slots, 105 table games, poker room
Mohegan Sun Pocono Wilkes Barre 1920 slots, 64 table games, poker room
Presque Isle Downs Erie 1566 slots, 47 table games, poker room

More On Pennsylvania's Top Casinos

Rivers Casino Philadelphia

Rivers Casino Philadelphia, formerly SugarHouse Casino, is located at 1001 North Delaware Avenue. It opened in late September 2010 at a cost of $550 million. The complex features 3,000 slots and table games, a 500-room hotel, plus a 30,000-square-foot event center among other facilities.

Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia

You can find Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia at 900 Packer Avenue. It is one of the newer Pennsylvania casinos, having enjoyed its grand Sportsbook on February 4, 2021. The onsite hotel has 208 rooms, while the casino boasts of 2,100 shots and electronic gaming terminals, 150 table games, a sportsbook, and a 29-table poker room.

Rivers Casino Pittsburgh

Rivers Casino Pittsburgh is one of the oldest Pennsylvanian casinos despite only Sportsbook in August 2009. Head to 777 Casino Drive to find the 3,000 slots, 107 table games, and a 30-table non-smoking poker room. Sports betting fans can also try their luck in the casino's dedicated sportsbook.

Hollywood Casino Morgantown

Hollywood Casino Morgantown is one of the state's so-called mini-casinos, which is located at 6021 Morgantown Road. The 50,000-square-foot facility houses 30 table games, 750 slot machines, and a sportsbook for customers to enjoy.

Mount Airy Casino Resort

Mouty Airy Casino Resort opened its doors at 312 Woodland Road, Mount Pocono in October 2007. Customers flocked to the casino resort, filling its 284 hotel rooms after a busy night in the 62,000-square-foot casino. That casino is packed with 70 table games and more than 1,800 slots of all shapes and sizes. The huge 7,000-square-foot sportsbook is located next to the 12-table poker room.

Parx Casino

Parx Casino has only been live since December 2009 but its racetrack has been open to the public since November 1974. Located at 2999 Street Road, Bensalem, Parx Casino is a sight to behold, and a gambling haven in the state. It has more than 3,200 slot and video gaming terminals, 188 live table games, as well as sports betting, live racing, and a 48-table poker room. It also has an affiliated Pennsylvania online casino.

Future Changes to Gambling Regulations in Pennsylvania

Now that gambling and online gambling are legal in Pennsylvania, one would be correct to think any changes to current legislation and laws would benefit gamblers.

  • Skill Games Law: There is currently a long-running legal battle regarding games of skill and whether they should be allowed in gambling properties. These games look strikingly similar to traditional slots, but where slots rely solely on luck to win, skill games require user input to be successful.
  • Interstate Poker Compact: The biggest upcoming change for Pennsylvania online casino players is when the state joins the Interstate Poker Compact, otherwise known as the Multi-State Internet Gambling Association. Current rules only permit Pennsylvanians to play online poker against other Pennsylvanians. Similar rules existed for Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, and Michigan. However, these states signed a pact that allows them to share traffic with each other, vastly increasing the liquidity of the games offered.
  • Pennsylvania Online Gambling Updates: Keep this page bookmarked for if and when the Pennsylvania online casino and gambling laws change for the better or for the worse.

PA Online Casino FAQ

What casinos can I play online in PA?

As online gambling is legal in Pennsylvania. Residents have their choice of great casino sites. 

Offshore online casinos exist, too, but we recommend that you avoid such sites. Legal Pennsylvania online casinos are safer. 

How are gambling winnings taxed in PA?

While this may not matter as much to casual players, Pennsylvania does levy a 3.07% tax on gambling income, in addition to any federal taxes that may be payable. Pennsylvanians still need to report their gambling winnings if they are won out of state, which can have an impact on the purse of professional gamblers.

How many online casinos are there in PA?

Including offshore casinos, there are dozens of casinos available to residents of Pennsylvania. Offshore casinos may not be able to offer the same legal protections as playing at US-based online casinos, so it's best to play at the sites associated with Live! Casino, Hollywood Casino, Rivers Casino, Parx Casino, and so on. 

What is the newest online casino in PA?

Golden Nugget is the newest online casino in Pennsylvania. The site launched in March 2022. Golden Nugget Hotels & Casinos have land-based casinos in Las Vegas, Lake Charles, Biloxi, and Atlantic City. It is a subsidiary of Landry's Hospitality, a division of Fertitta Entertainment.

In New Jersey, Golden Nugget partners with Philadelphia's SugarHouse Casino for the number one online casino site in the state. The Pennsylvania Golden Nugget online site has the same award-winning list of casino games that the New Jersey version has. 
 

Can you win real money at online casinos in PA?

Absolutely. Pennsylvania online casinos are licensed by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. At present, four different online casino brands operate legally within Pennsylvania. 
 

Are there live dealer games at PA online casinos?

Yes, there are. Players have access to dozens of live dealer games: blackjack, craps, American Roulette, Lightning Roulette, Three Card Poker, Ultimate Texas Holdem, and baccarat. 
 

Can I sign up for multiple PA online casino sites?

Yes, you can. Pennsylvania residents can sign up for all of the licensed online casino sites at once. This allows a player to browse for the best online slots and table games from all of the different sites. These casinos also offer bonuses, so PA players often sign up for multiple casino sites. 
 

Are online casinos in Pennsylvania safe?

Yes, they are. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board regulates PA online casinos, assuring fairness and safety for its players. That's the biggest advantage to having regulated online casino gaming.