WHAT YOU HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT GAMBLING IN PENNSYLVANIA
Curious about the?state of gambling?in Pennsylvania today? Online gambling is alive and well and a dozen land-based casinos in the state, things are encouraging for those who enjoy a game of blackjack or tugging on a slot machine handle. But, there?s more to what is happening today than meets the eye. Find out more about the history of gambling in the state and what you can expect when you step into a casino today.
The Current Status of Legal Online Gambling in Pennsylvania
Today, gambling is in a very good place in Pennsylvania. The state offers several options for gambling, whether on-site or online. Online gambling was legalized in the state on October 26, 2017, when Governor Tom Wolf signed?HB 271. Not only are online casinos available, but so are online sports betting and online poker. Legal online poker is not common to find in other states, so this sets Pennsylvania apart from the rest.?
The law that made gambling online legal in the state legalized the following types of gaming:
- Online Casino Games
- Sports Betting
- Online Poker Games and Tournaments
- Lottery Games and Tickets
- Daily Fantasy Sports
- Tablet Gaming in Airports
- Video Gaming Terminals at Truck Stops
However, just because the state legalized and now regulates online casinos, that doesn?t mean all sites and online casino apps are legal. The only sites allowed in the state are those approved, vetted, and overseen by the?Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
Each of the legal gambling sites in the state corresponds to a land-based casino in Pennsylvania. As an example, SugarHouse and BetRivers work with Rivers casinos in the area. FanDuel Casino is associated with Valley Forge. New online casinos and sportsbooks continue to open in the state, but they all partner with a local brick-and-mortar casino.?
A Short History of Pennsylvania?s Legal Gambling
Casinos first became legal in Pennsylvania in July 2004 based on new state legislation. The law permitted up to 14 slot parlors within the state. Currently, there are only 12 with a 13th?one in the process of development. Most of the early casinos were located at racetracks that focused on horse races before the expansion of gambling.
The state faced many challenges with legalizing gambling, one of which occurred in 2005 when opponents of gambling tried to block casino gambling in the state. In 2007, the City Council of Philadelphia passed a resolution that would have made it possible for the city to speak on where casinos were placed. However, state law overruled that, and casinos were allowed to be placed in Philadelphia.
In September 2006, PA granted racing licenses to six racetracks. This allowed the locations to operate slot machines while the regulatory process was being ironed out. By the end of December, these tracks were given permanent licenses at the same time as five standalone land casinos in the state.
Important Dates Throughout the Gambling History of Pennsylvania
Here are some of the key dates in the timeline of legalization of gambling in Pennsylvania:?
- August 1971 ? The government established The Pennsylvania State Lottery.
- 1980-1990 ? There was an increased push for legalizing casinos in Pennsylvania.
- 1993 -1994 ? PA used riverboats on state waterways for gambling purposes.
- March 1999 ? A bill for legalized gambling was approved by the house but never made it through.
- July 2004 ? Act 71 was passed and established the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board while also legalizing casinos and racetracks.
- October 2017 ? PA passed a bill to legalize online gambling in the state.
PA Gambling VS Other States
The states near Pennsylvania include Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and West Virginia. Each has its own laws and regulations around gambling, as well as varying numbers of casinos, racetracks, and other gambling establishments. See our complete guide to How Pennsylvania Compares To Other States For Online Gambling.
Unlike Pennsylvania, Delaware has a limited number of casinos. There are only three and each of them is a combination of a racetrack and casino. However, each of the casinos in the state offers online gambling options and sports betting.
Maryland has several land-based casinos in Baltimore, Perryville, and Oxon Hill. However, there are far fewer casinos than there are in Pennsylvania. Unlike Delaware and Pennsylvania, Maryland does not offer online gambling at this time.
Gambling is legal in New Jersey, but state law limits casinos to Atlantic City. The state also allows horse racing, the New Jersey lottery, social gambling, charity gambling, and games of amusement. The state has nine casinos and allows online gambling and poker.
This is the only state near Pennsylvania that has a higher number of live casinos available. In fact, New York has more than 20 casinos, which range from Native American casinos to racecourse-casino hybrids and commercial institutions. These casinos are located in 23 cities, however, none are within New York City?s city limits.
This state legalized casinos in the same year as Pennsylvania and has seen a lot of growth since that time. It has almost as many casinos as PA, which are located throughout the state in places like Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, and Dayton. Legal forms of gambling include bingo, raffles, games of chance, horse races, lottery, video lottery terminals, and keno.
One of the states near Pennsylvania with the fewest gambling options is West Virginia. This state has only five casinos, four of which are racecourses and casinos. The last is a hotel-casino that is only open to guests of the hotel.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Gambling is legal in Pennsylvania if you are 21 years old, although there are some cases where 18-year-old individuals can also take part in the act. While gambling has only been legal in the state since 2009, the state is only second in revenue from casinos with Nevada bringing up the lead. Casinos, bingo, horse racing, and the Pennsylvania Lottery are all included.
The short answer is 21. However, there are exceptions where those who are 18 can take part in some kinds of gambling. While you need to be 21 to gamble inside of a casino, those who are at least 18 can take part in the lottery, pari-mutuel horse race betting, and charity bingo or other small games of chance.
Yes. Pennsylvania is one of several states that allows online gambling within the state. In 2017, Governor Tom Wolf signed HB 271 into law, which authorized online poker, sports betting, daily fantasy sports, video gambling terminals at truck stops, online casino games, online lottery, tablet gaming in some areas of airports, and mini-casinos. All online sites that offer real money play are associated with landbased casinos in PA.
Yes! In addition to allowing sports betting in land-based casinos, online sports betting is also legal in the state of Pennsylvania. Sports betting became legal in 2017. Most casinos in the state now offer online sportsbooks and sports betting apps. The one exception right now is Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin, which also does not provide online gambling, but may offer it in the future.
Yes. The Pennsylvania Lottery has been in place since 1972 and offers state drawings as well as Mega Millions games, Powerball, and scratchcards. The draw games offered by the PA Lottery include Pick 2, Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5, Cash 5, Treasure Hunt, and Match 6. All pick games have a fixed payout, while the other games are jackpot-style in a similar way as Powerball and Mega Millions.
Yes. PA created an online lottery when the gambling bill expansion passed in 2017. Standard draw games aren?t available online as the iLottery uses unique games that are not available at retail locations. However, Mega Millions and Powerball are available through the?online lottery?system. There has been some controversy over other games that are often casino-style in appearance and play.
Yes. There is no reason to think that gambling at the casinos across Pennsylvania would be unsafe. The same applies to online gambling as long as you go through the proper channels. You should only gamble at websites that are connected to a land-based casino in the state. You will remain safe at land and online casinos provided you take the appropriate precautions.
Yes. Any winnings made through gambling are entirely taxable through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Residents of the state must pay income tax on lottery and gambling winnings from any source except for non-cash prizes from the state lottery. Personal income tax is levied at about 3% on taxable income, which includes lottery and gambling winnings. Winning Mega Millions or Powerball is also taxable by the state.
Yes, for most people. The loyalty programs that casinos offer can provide you with complimentary items, discounts on food and drink, hotel stays, and much more. Without membership in the loyalty program, you can still gamble, but you will not gain the same perks. It?s typically straightforward to sign up, and it can help you save money if you do much gambling. Even someone who doesn?t regularly visit casinos should consider signing up for the free perks.
The short answer is that various companies own the casinos. For example, Vici Properties owns Parx Casino and Gaming and Leisure Properties owns Hollywood Casino.