Understanding The Pennsylvania Online Gambling Bill

Pennsylvania became one of the first US states to permit gambling online. In order to understand what’s allowed in the state, it’s important to understand the Pennsylvania online gambling bill.

The Keystone State permits many forms of gambling. This includes horse racing, casino gambling, the Pennsylvania lottery, and small games of chance. Each of these can be enjoyed live in the state, although casino gaming only became legal in recent years. Although the state has a long history of gambling, its relationship with online gambling is more recent.

By understanding the Pennsylvania online gambling bill, players can better understand which products are legal and how to protect themselves under the law.

Pennsylvania House Bill 271 And Online Gambling

Online gambling is new to Pennsylvania. The state introduced online gaming just after Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware. Governor Tom Wolf signed Pennsylvania House Bill 271 into law on October 30, 2017.?Known as the omnibus gaming expansion bill, the law launched the online casino industry in the state.

Prior efforts to legalize online gambling in the state date back to 2013, but none of them made it through the process. The prior bills always pulled up a bit short. That day in 2017, though, was a day for excitement and victory parties for Pennsylvania gambling proponents.

Pennsylvania has the second-largest number of land-based casinos in the US. The first online casinos and sportsbooks didn’t launch until 2018. But with the success of the retail casino industry in the state, it’s no surprise there are many successful online gambling operators in Pennsylvania today.

Legal Gambling Products Permitted Under HB 271

Pennsylvania’s online gambling bill legalized everything from table games to online poker and slots. At the time of the bill passage, the state made 12 licenses available. These 12 licenses were sufficient enough for all the state?s 12 land-based casinos to move into online gambling if they chose to do so.

However, the licenses were also broken down into the three categories of poker, table games, and slots. During the initial 90 day licensing period, Pennsylvania casinos could apply for a license for all three types of gambling for $10 million. After 90 days, casinos could purchase licenses for single segments for $4 million each. After 120 days, the licenses that remained unclaimed could be bought by other qualified entities besides land-based casinos. This process gave regulated retail casinos a leg up but left the door open to outside entities.

In addition to the conventional poker, slots, and table games, this bill also made several other online gambling options legal. These included:

  • Daily Fantasy Sports
  • Online Lottery
  • Sports Betting
  • Video Gaming Terminals
  • Construction of Up to 10 Category 4 Casinos

The Pennsylvania House Bill specifically made sports betting legal in the state. Unfortunately, in 2017, sports betting was still illegal under federal law. Once the Supreme Court of the United States overturned the law that banned sports betting in 2018, Pennsylvania was ready to move forward. It didn’t take long for casinos to launch operations that included?betting on sports in Pennsylvania.?

Key Aspects Of The Pennsylvania Online Gambling Bill

Tax Rate54% for slots, 34% for sports betting, and 16% for table games
Licensing Fee$1 million for vendor licenses, $4 million for poker, slots, or table games
Legalized ProductsLottery, casino, poker, keno, mini-casino, and video slots
Date Signed into LawOctober 30, 2017

Important Dates Related To The Passage Of Pennsylvania?s Legal Online Gambling Bill

  • 2013 ? The first attempts to legalize online gambling were made through the introduction of House Bill 1235, but the bill was stalled.
  • 2014 ? The State Senate introduced online gambling bill SB 1386 but garnered little interest and was never voted on.
  • 2015 ? 2015 saw four different online gambling bills proposed, which included HB 649, HB 920, HB 695, and SP 900. The Gaming and Oversight Committee passed HB 659 but it stalled there for some time.
  • 2016 ? HB 2150 was introduced to link daily fantasy sports with online gambling and passed the house but was not considered by the senate.
  • 2017 ? HB 271 emerged and passed to allow online gambling in Pennsylvania. The governor signed the bill the same year.

Pennsylvania Online Gambling Fact Sheet

Minimum Age to Gamble Online in Pennsylvania21 years of age or older
Types of Legal Online Gambling in PAPoker, slots, table games, video gaming terminals, lottery, daily fantasy sports, sports betting
When Online Gambling Became Legal in PennsylvaniaOctober 30, 2017, with sites launching in 2018 and 2019
Who Regulates PA Online GamblingThe Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board

Pennsylvania Online Gambling Bill FAQ

Is it safe to gamble online?

Yes. It is safe to gamble online as long as you take a few precautions. The best way to stay safe when gambling online is to only use sites regulated and licensed by a governmental body. Also, look for companies with positive online reviews and a lack of complaints. Because the regulated land-based Pennsylvania casinos operate all online casinos in the state, they are reputable and can be trusted.

How can I ensure the safety of my personal information at online sports betting sites and casinos in Pennsylvania?

The best way to stay safe at online casinos in Pennsylvania is by playing only on reputable sites, such as PlaySugarHouse, Hollywood Casino, and Parx. It?s essential to be sure the website you use is regulated and licensed by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. It?s also a good idea to protect your information by using a unique username, avoiding sharing your password, and logging off each time you visit the casino or sports betting site.

Who is in charge of operating the online gaming sites in PA?

Pennsylvania’s land-based casinos operate all online casinos in the state. This includes Rivers Philadelphia (Sugarhouse Casino), Hollywood Casino, Mohegan Sun Pocono, Rivers Casino, Valley Forge Casino, Mount Airy Casino, Parx Casino, and Harrah?s Casino. Most of them offer live games on both Android and iOS operating systems. There are also several sports betting sites run by DraftKings, FanDuel, FOX Bet, and more.

What occurs if I have a dispute with a Pennsylvania online casino?

If you have a dispute or a complaint with an online Pennsylvania casino, there are online forms available that help resolve problems. You fill out information about yourself, the online site you have a complaint with, and other information. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board can determine what to do. Any disputes or complaints must be placed within 30 days of the occurrence and there are penalties for false reports.

Who is in charge of regulations for online gambling sites in Pennsylvania?

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) is responsible for the licensing and regulation of all online casinos in Pennsylvania. Founded in 2004, the agency oversees casino gambling and slot machines in the state. It has seven voting members. The governor appoints three members and the leadership of?the Pennsylvania General Assembly appoints four members.

What sets apart legal and illegal online gambling sites?

Every state has its own rules and regulations regarding online gambling. Some states do not allow gambling online on any website. Others have online gambling offered by land-based casinos and some allow other companies to offer online gambling for their state. It?s essential to look at state laws before participating in online gambling. See our guide on How Pennsylvania’s Online Gambling Compares To Other States for more information.