The gambling outlook in Pennsylvania: An overview

Pennsylvania online gambling is now as easy as can be, thanks to the legalization of online casino gambling in the state, and as gamblers can access various virtual gambling options anywhere using their smartphones or desktops, online gambling fever is all the rage in the Keystone State.

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📖 Published on: June 8th, 2023

✍️ Updated: 2 months ago

⏳ 24 mins read

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However, not to dampen their spirits, but bettors need to keep in mind that they should have a stable internet connection before enjoying gaming PA options, including sports betting, casino gambling, horse racing, and more. But how did online casino gambling materialize in the state? Did it always exist in some form or other, just like its neighbor, New Jersey? There are some intriguing factors that come into play when we talk about online gambling in Pennsylvania, but we’d be the first to tell you that it hasn’t all been smooth sailing and sunny weather, either. There have been some pitfalls, just like other notable states like NJ and MI, but, sure enough, like the founding fathers who made the state a great pioneer, it will continue to fight for an even brighter future in the online gaming universe.

Pennsylvania gambling laws and regulations

According to the online gambling aficionados in PA, the state allows residents to gamble freely online or on land. However, all issues related to using real money to bet are controlled by Unit 5512 of the PA Act. It is also well worth noting that Pennsylvania's present rules do not criminalize gamers who take part in illegal sports.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), which was created in 2004, is the agency required to oversee all gambling activities within the Keystone State. The PA state gambling industry was established in 1971 according to Act 91, and wagering laws have faced a series of ups and downs since their creation. For instance, between the 1980s -1990s, legislators pushed to establish the gambling law. Still, residents vehemently went against it, perhaps because, in general, people perceived betting as negative. Because of this negative view, online casino gambling in Pennsylvania didn’t take off right away; or else, it could have been more successful.

Also, between the years 1993 and 1994, betting fans in the riverboat region of Pennsylvania pressed lawmakers for the legalization of wagering. Still, social researchers and financial analysts discouraged lawmakers from making gambling legal in the state, citing that it may breed corruption, criminality, indecency, etc. And to make matters worse, betting opponents claimed that it would corrupt families, promote immorality, and more; so it’s no surprise that the gambling law failed again.

But this is just the beginning. Just when people in the state were starting to change their views, the wagering law suffered a severe setback in the 1990s, following Gov. Tom Ridge's use of a referendum to deny any support legislation. His decision was deemed feasible, failing the constitution yet again.


Another failed attempt was made with gambling laws in 1999 following previous approval by the State House legislators. But just then, after a series of failures, the Pennsylvania gambling industry experienced a victory. The betting law received wide acceptance in 2004 following a clear description of what the income from wagering would be used for, coupled with the different and more modern views of the new generation.

Also, the connection between old betting and criminality was reduced to the barest minimum (a big boost to casino gambling’s reputation indeed) as the casino ownership structure shifted to publicly traded organizations.

At this point, the light was green - it was then that Pennsylvania officially launched online casino gambling in 2017, and at the beginning of 2019, PA launched its very first online casinos, where players can play for real money.


What is considered Illegal gambling in the state?

Although there is abundant legalized gambling in Pennsylvania, we should be honest: there are still some illegal betting locations in the state. For example, many locations and entertainment centers, including truck stops, bars, fire company social halls, private clubs, and more, have permitted video poker or slot machines on their sites for years. Unfortunately, such sites would hardly check the Pennsylvania gambling age of their prospective gambler since they are always after profits.

On several occasions, the subject of discussion is often how to legalize and regulate VGTs in the above locations. Right now, the PA Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement and the State Police typically enforce VGTs, and it's believed that about 40,000 illegal machines are dispersed throughout Pennsylvania.

Nevertheless, with the acceptance of games wagering in PA, the increase in the tax rate - 36% and the $10 million certification fee - may give way to flourishing the local economy of bookmakers.


A series of upcoming changes in gambling regulations

You should also be aware that the gambling industry in Pennsylvania has received a series of casino industry regulations since the 2010s. The success of this bill resulted in calls for more wagering legislation to be passed in Pennsylvania. For instance, the 2017 Satellite and Truckstop Gambling Bill intends to create ten new small betting locations and extend betting-style wagering to online portals, airports, and truck stops.

In 2016, different casinos and racetracks employed about 18,000 workers around Pennsylvania. Together, they generated about $1.4 billion in tax income annually - a hefty amount that shows how crucial the tax revenue of online casino gambling is to the state.

There isn't much to expect regarding different changes to online gambling laws and regulations in PA. After all, Pennsylvania has already gone through the most significant changes, and it is reaping the benefits of these changes as we speak. But perhaps there might be some changes when it comes to taxation in the near future. As of now, the Pennsylvania online casino sector has boomed - in fact, it comes second after Nevada for games revenue, with the gaming industry contributing almost $1.5 billion per year to the state’s coffers. It only proves the reliance of the state on its online gambling industry, which can only move forward and adapt to these dynamic times.


Philly casinos

Real money casinos in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is already home to 13 land-based gambling houses. Except for some casinos, other land-based casinos requested a virtual gaming house license for table games and slots.

This translates roughly into about 11 fully authorized gaming sites in 2019 for Pennsylvania residents, comparable to New Jersey's available ones. In addition, some companies will be offering sports betting under some enterprises.


Skill games

The rapid expansion of skill machines is the latest trend in PA. Skill machines often look like video gaming terminals (VGTs) or video slot machines, and they are capable of outsmarting gaming legislation because of previous court rulings that concluded they weren't game machines in the first place! Due to this, skill machines are now present at many gas stations, pubs, clubs, and tobacco stations across Pennsylvania.


Truck Stops

Since December of 2019, video gaming terminals (VGTs) have been found in eight eligible PA truck stops.


The mistaken belief about PA gambling

We all have our mistaken beliefs and assumptions, and in PA, there are some who have incorrectly assumed - and who think the worst - of online casino gambling. We thought that it needed to be addressed because we don’t want players - and the public in general - to go around thinking and believing in the worst. These are as follows:


  • Most Pennsylvanians who lived before the 2000s believe online gambling can result in gross corruption, including misappropriation of funds.
  • Some PA residents believe online casino gambling will breed criminals
  • There are people who also believe online wagering in the Keystone State will increase immorality among families.


We can’t stress this enough: casino gambling is not encouraged for people of all ages to partake in, hence the strict gambling age of 21 and above. But we believe that casino gambling has its merits as well, including the creation of jobs in the state, the promotion of tourist spots and sights, and the utmost enjoyment, all in the name of fun. The state of Pennsylvania, along with its online and land-based casinos and gaming sites, strictly adheres to and promotes responsible gambling, and it has rules and regulations in place to make sure this is followed at all times.


Off-track betting

In PA, different sites offer off-track gambling. Each and every one of these locations is, however, linked to a defined racetrack. Off-track wagering has been approved as far back as 1988 in Pennsylvania State. The Keystone State was the 5th among the American States that allowed off-track gambling in parlors.

The initial regulation required that each of the four racetracks in 1988 possess a 35 mile-defending radius where the untracked sites could be situated. The regulation also required about a total of 23 max sites in the entire state.


Former off-track wagering sites

Because horse racing popularity is plummeting, many off-track gambling sites have shut down, not just in PA, but in other states around the country. Yet, some providers will incorporate sports wagering into existing off-track gambling sites in 2019. In effect, the PA gambling age doesn't always matter.


Horse racing

This was the earliest kind of betting in Pennsylvania, although already legalized after the permission of the Race Horse Industry Reform Act of 1959. However, the earliest race track to operate after the act was followed was in 1963. Besides the racetracks, many off-track gambling creations were also available. Aside from this, virtual wagering and phone gambling on horse racing are also permitted. Unfortunately, Greyhound racing is not allowed in PA.

Nearest land based casinos

We've compiled a list of the most trusted land-based casinos if you're searching for "Pennsylvania casinos near me":

Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack
Harrah's Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack is a premier destination for entertainment and dining in Chester, Pennsylvania. Offering a wide range of slot machines, video poker, blackjack, craps, roulette, mini-baccarat, Let it Ride, Three Card Poker, Four Card Poker, Pai Gow Poker, Spanish 21, Sic Bo, Big Six Wheel, Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em and Sports Book, Harrah's is an ideal spot for PA gambling fans. The casino also features live harness racing seasonally, as well as daily simulcast of harness and thoroughbred racing. Dining options include four restaurants, ensuring something for everyone.
777 Harrahs Boulevard, Chester, PA 19013
Phone Number:
Wind Creek Bethlehem
Wind Creek Bethlehem is an important casino located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. With its toll-free number at (877) 727-3777 and 288 rooms with a price range of $129-$349, 22 suites at $249-$349 and four restaurants, there is something for everyone. Games available here include Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Baccarat, Mini-Baccarat, Pai Gow, Pai Gow Poker, Three Card Poker, Poker, Caribbean Stud Poker, Casino War, Big Six Wheel, Sic Bo, Sports Book and stadium gaming versions of baccarat, roulette and blackjack. With something for everyone, Wind Creek Bethlehem is ready to cater to any standard of gaming!
77 Wind Creek Boulevard, Bethlehem, PA 18015
Phone Number:
(877) 727-3777
Presque Isle Downs and Casino
Presque Isle Downs and Casino offers an exciting gaming and racing experience in Pennsylvania's picturesque city of Erie. The casino floor is resplendent with classic card games like Blackjack, Craps, Roulette and Pai Gow Poker as well as other popular forms such as Three Card Poker, Four Card Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em, Let it Ride, and Poker. During the live horse racing season, visitors can witness thrilling thoroughbred racing first-hand, and daily simulcasts of both thoroughbred and harness racing provide plenty of betting opportunities as well. Plus, in addition to the four restaurants, there's also a Sports Book available so you can take a break and catch up on the day's events. Head to Presque Isle Downs and Casino for an unforgettable gaming, dining and racing experience!
8199 Perry Highway, Erie, PA 16509
Phone Number:
(866) 374-3386
Live! Casino Pittsburgh
Live! Casino Pittsburgh is the perfect place for a night of fun and excitement. Located in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, this expansive casino is more than 100,000 square feet and has something for everyone. Try your luck at games such as Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Slots and Video Poker, Mississippi Stud, Spanish 21, Three Card Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em, Pai Gow Poker or even the Sports Book. Get ready to roll the dice, test your luck and experience a night to remember.
5260 Route 30, Greensburg, PA 15601
Phone Number:
Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia
Live! Casino and Hotel Philadelphia offers exciting gaming in a sprawling 100,000 square feet of floor space. Poker, blackjack, craps, roulette and slots can be found, as well as a sports book for Philadelphia’s legendary sports fanatics. Guests can choose from a variety of 30 luxury suites ranging from $474-$999 and nine different restaurants. Visit Live! Casino and Hotel Philadelphia and find thrilling gaming entertainment in the heart of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
900 Packer Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19148
Phone Number:
Hollywood Casino Morgantown
Hollywood Casino Morgantown boasts 50,000 feet of casino floor featuring all the classic games, from slots and video poker to blackjack, craps, roulette, mini-baccarat and more. Open from 9am - 4am, it's become a favorite nightspot on weekends, when it's open 24 hours. Make your way to Barstool Sportsbook for some of the top sports betting odds in Morgantown, Pennsylvania – or try your luck on Pai Gow Poker, Heads Up Hold'Em, and Cajun Stud. Whether you're a seasoned veteran or just starting out, there's something for everyone at Hollywood Casino Morgantown.
6021 Morgantown Road, Morgantown, PA 19543
Phone Number:
Mount Airy Resort & Casino
Mount Airy Resort and Casino is located in Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania and offers a total of 68,000 sqft of gaming space. You can play at one of the five restaurants in the casino or take time to relax and enjoy the 18-hole golf course. The resort also offers 175 standard rooms and 25 suites, all ranging between $139-$359 for standard rooms and $239-$459 for suites. Notable games include Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Mini-Baccarat, Pai Gow, Pai Gow Poker, Three Card Poker, Let it Ride, Baccarat, Big Six Wheel, Poker, Four Card Poker, Spanish 21, Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em, and Sports Book. Senior discounts of up to 50% are available at The Market restaurant on Wednesdays. Mount Airy Resort and Casino has all you need for a great day or weekend of entertainment.
44 Woodland Road, Mount Pocono, PA 18344
Phone Number:
(570) 243-4800
Meadows Casino, The
Meadows Casino, The is a popular destination in Washington, Pennsylvania, offering suites ranging from $143 - $209. Visitors can enjoy playing Games such as Slots, Video Poker, Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Baccarat, Mini-Baccarat, Pai Gow Poker, Three Card Poker, Mississippi Stud, Let it Ride, Poker, Big 6 Wheel, or take part in the daily simulcast of harness and thoroughbred racing. Entertainment options also include live harness racing various evenings throughout the year. Additionally, while staying at Meadows Casino, The, guests can choose from five restaurants and relax in the hotel, which is a Hyatt Place.
210 Racetrack Road, Washington, PA 15301
Phone Number:
(877) 824-5050
Hollywood Casino at Penn National
Hollywood Casino at Penn National is located in Grantville, Pennsylvania and is home to a 45,000 square foot casino featuring a wide variety of gaming options. Guests can enjoy classic table games such as Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Mini-Baccarat, Pai Gow Poker and Three Card Poker, as well as other popular games like Four Card Poker, Poker, Pai Gow, Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em, Spanish 21, Big 6 Wheel and Let it Ride. Live Thoroughbred Horse Racing is a great attraction, taking place on Wednesday-Saturday evenings all year long. Additionally, the casino offers daily simulcasts of harness and thoroughbred racing and a buffet open Thursday-Sunday.
720 Bow Creek Road, Grantville, PA 17028
Phone Number:
(717) 469-2211
Parx Shippensburg
Parx Shippensburg is Pennsylvania's premier casino and boasts 5 restaurants, a racebook, and the full range of gambling options with slots, video poker, electronic blackjack and roulette, poker, and sports betting. During their thoroughbred racing season, visitors will be immersed in the thrill of the thrill of the ride and the delight of the wager. The friendly atmosphere and range of entertainment options makes Parx Shippensburg the ultimate gaming experience in Pennsylvania.
250 South Conestoga Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257
Phone Number:
(888) 588-7279
Lady Luck Nemacolin
Lady Luck Nemacolin, located in Farmington, Pennsylvania, offers 300 rooms for a starting price of $259, as well as 27 suites for $379 to $3,299. Two in-house restaurants are available for guests to enjoy. The casino boasts a variety of games, such as slot machines, video poker, blackjack, craps, roulette, mini-baccarat, big six wheel, Mississippi stud, and four card poker. Located near Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, guests must be a resort guest for admittance to the casino and all room rates also include a $20 daily resort fee.
4067 National Pike, Farmington, PA 15437
Phone Number:
(724) 329-7500
Valley Forge Casino Resort
Valley Forge Casino Resort is located in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. With over 50 table games, more than 40 of the hottest slot machines, and live entertainment, this is your ultimate gaming destination. Guests can find all the classics, as well as a variety of new and exciting games. Along with gaming, this luxurious resort also offers a rich array of amenities, like dining options, a full-service spa, and a 80-room hotel for ultimate relaxation. Enjoy the thrill of gaming and all the luxuries the Valley Forge Casino Resort has to offer.
1160 First Avenue, King of Prussia, PA 19406
Phone Number:
(610) 354-8118
Rivers Casino Pittsburgh
Rivers Casino Pittsburgh is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, offering a wide selection of gaming experiences. With 5 restaurants, guests can dine in between gaming sessions. Players can enjoy slots, blackjack, craps, roulette, baccarat, mini-baccarat, Pai Gow Poker, Three card Poker, Poker, Big 6 Wheel, Mississippi Stud, Ultimate Texas Hold'em, and Sports Book. Free parking is available to those who join the player’s club and collect points on their cards. A 219-room hotel is planned to open in 2022.
777 Casino Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Phone Number:
(412) 231-7777
Mohegan Sun Pocono
Mohegan Sun Pocono is a popular casino located in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. It has 238 rooms with price ranges of $ 119 - $ 379 and 8 restaurants. For the games lovers, they can enjoy Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Mini-Baccarat, Pai Gow Poker, Three Card Poker, Let it Ride, Spanish 21, Poker, Big Six Wheel and a Sports Book. Additionally, the casino offers a special feature with live harness racing seasonally and a daily simulcast of harness and thoroughbred racing. Mohegan Sun Pocono is the ultimate destination for an extraordinary casino experience!
1280 Highway 315, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702
Phone Number:
(888) 946-4672
Parx Casino and Racing
Parx Casino and Racing is located in Bensalem, Pennsylvania and offers racing seasonally and daily simulcast of harness and thoroughbred racing. With five restaurants, there are endless options to indulge in while playing their diverse selection of games. Test your luck at Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Mini-Baccarat, Sic Bo, Pai Gow Poker, Three Card Poker, Four Card Poker, Poker, Big Six Wheel and Pai Gow Poker. Fans of sports can also enjoy their Sports Book. So, whether you’re looking for a night of Vegas-style entertainment or you’re more of a horse fan, Parx Casino and Racing is the perfect place for thrills and fun!
2999 Street Road, Bensalem, PA 19020
Phone Number:
(215) 639-9000
Hollywood Casino York
Hollywood Casino York is located in York, Pennsylvania, just off Whiteford Road. This 38,000 square foot casino offers 500 gaming machines, 24 table games, and a Sports Book for betting. Head to Hollywood Casino York for some slots, video poker, Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Pai Gow Poker, Three Card Poker and Heads Up Hold'Em. This casino is open daily from 8am to 4am and is located in the York Galleria Mall for convenient shopping.
2899 Whiteford Road, York, PA 17402
Phone Number:
(223) 232-6200
Rivers Casino Philadelphia
Rivers Casino Philadelphia is an exciting gaming destination situated on the banks of the Delaware River. Just steps from historic Philadelphia, this casino offers 45,000 square feet of gaming action including Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Mini-Baccarat, Pai Gow Poker, Three Card Poker, Sic Bo, Casino War, Four Card Poker, Poker, Baccarat, Pai Gow, Spanish 21, Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em, and a Sports Book. The facility also features four restaurants, ranging from the upscale Parxgrill to eclectic eats at Lottery Lyle's. Whether you're looking for a great night out or just to win big, Rivers Casino Philadelphia has something for everyone.
1001 North Delaware Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125
Phone Number:
(877) 477-3715
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Sports betting

Online sports betting has been legal in PA since 2019, but in fact, it became legal immediately after the Supreme Court ruled out the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) bill because native lawmakers had signed the appropriations bills before the court's development. As a result, any business with a betting slot license that wants to apply for a game betting certificate can do so.

This implies that more than half of the native casino businesses will soon join PA online gambling. But, like casino games, people think that sports betting certificates are expensive. It may cost up to $10 million, plus the company will pay 36% of its overall income as a tax rate. So far, qualified gaming clubs have yet to apply for a games wagering license. Hopefully, a few of them will show interest later. First, however, people are anticipating any second-division companies to show interest. Native gaming houses will undoubtedly go with the most reputable and well-known names.

In addition to this, Pennsylvania has some of the most loyal, die-hard sports fans around, with the Philadelphia Eagles and the Philadelphia Flyers right at its doorstep, and most of these fans are eager to get in on the action - starting with sports betting, where a lot of sports betting sites have already made names for themselves, including FanDuel, Caesars Sportsbook, betPARX Pennsylvania, BetRivers, and more in the PA sports betting universe.


Philly betting

Daily Fantasy Sports

Based on Pennsylvania's wagering laws (the "virtual bill"), the activities of the DFS (MLB, PGA, NLF, and NBA) are monitored by the Online Gambling Control Board. However, the guidelines vary slightly from other forms of online betting.

For instance, operators are not mandated to partner with natives, and the 5-year certificate totaled $50,000 and a 15% tax on total income. Some companies have already been authorized; however, you can check the names of brands currently processing their certificates. The fact that some businesses stay away for various reasons does not preclude them from applying for certificates in the future.

Lastly, Kevin O'Toole, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), has declared that PA residents who already participate in DFS competition with any of the authorized brands won't need to re-enroll on their websites and won't experience any gameplay differences.

Since DFS has been running in Pennsylvania since 2017 (earlier than other forms of gambling in the state), there are currently five DFS operators available, which include Outlast DFS, DraftKings, FanDuel, WinView, and MKF Player Prop Parlays.


Virtual Bingo hasn't received special treatment in the latest Pennsylvania internet gambling legislation. Rather, it's been categorized with video poker and slots. However, bingo casinos are expected to be listed among the Keystone state-facing online gambling sites as they become established. Apart from this, bettors can bet bingo-style sports on the Pennsylvania betting page.

Note that Bingo's continued existence will determine the result of the law above. Manual-based bingo sports are protected by the 1988 Pennsylvania Small Games of Chance Act and are present in the Keystone State. The land bingo authorizing fees are minimal, and non-profit organizations' fees start at $100.


Except for one gambling company, all online gambling companies in Pennsylvania that want to get certificates also want to get certificates for their pokers. Nevertheless, only one company confirmed its virtual partner, hopefully giving another PA play advantage over the competition.

While some brands are anticipated to use apps, others are expected to partner with another under a big brand name. Nothing else is understood, but using happenings in New Jersey, it's certain that all the dominant poker connections will compete for part of the native market.

As previously stated, the issue of interstate gambler grouping between the operating sites on the uncompleted United States-regulated trading sites—Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware—and the Philadelphia-certified poker space is yet to be resolved. However, recent regulations do not forbid such a remedy, and it will be helpful to native gamers.

For now, online poker is alive and well in the Keystone State, and there is a massive selection of poker sites vying for players in the PA poker arena. Some names include PokerStars, BetMGM Poker,, and Borgata Poker.

Poker Philly


Pennsylvania is home to one of the country's oldest and most well-known sports betting industries. Its lottery sold its first ticket in 1972 - and has generated $29 billion since then. The Keystone betting company lets people bet on a dozen normal draw sports, such as Treasure Hunt, Mega Millions, Millionaire Raffle, Powerball, and Wild Ball. Punters can also access Xpress Sports, scratch-offs, and Keno.

However, in response to the passage of the recent internet gaming bill, the PA Lottery created a new site titled Pennsylvania iLottery. This grants PA residents a total of 25 gambling-style sports. These games are close to slot games regarding gameplay style and terms, although their living options are contingent on the outcome of the native gaming file lawsuit. You can take advantage of many variants of the Pennsylvania Lottery, including draw games, scratch-offs, fast play, and Keno, and you can even play online with game variants like eInstants and benefit from promotions. If you want to learn more about PA iLottery, please visit GambleSpot review section.


The gambling timeline in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania State Gaming was established in 1971 according to Act 91 and was managed by the government. Its purpose, as contained in the bill, was to help the elderly and restrict illegal betting operations. It also described how the tickets would be sold, how they'd be advertised publicly, and how bonuses would be issued.

However, the current purpose of PA betting legislation focuses on using its income to improve the economy, create more jobs, and offset the financial deficit of Pennsylvania State. Between the 1980s and 1990s, the passing of the Pennsylvania state gambling bill resulted in frequent conflicts with regard to betting, and the earliest major trial to establish a gambling house was held at a resort center in Pennsylvania.


Philadelphia Vintage Photo image


According to the outcome of several polls held in the Pocono region, the idea of betting was rejected by the inhabitants, mainly because of peoples' general perception of betting, especially in the 1980s. PA residents hoped gambling could bring fortune to their state as it had to Nevada, but many were disappointed with the misappropriation of funds and criminality.

Then, between 1993 and 1994, the riverboat region of Pennsylvania also asked for casinos to be legalized. While these fans visualize that authorizing riverboat wagering would turn in more funds for the state, social researchers and financial pundits have stated that the casino company could commit a criminal act and drain money from the state account.

But, yet again, gambling legislation failed in the riverboat region in the middle of the 1990s because Tom Ridge, then the elected governor, requested many voter referendums, which he ended up using to determine the support legislation. This caused the riverboat legislation more harm than before.

The last failed gambling attempt in PA occurred in 1999 when a betting bill that the State House approved also failed. However, in 2004, the Keystone lawmakers passed Act 71 and made progress in pushing for the acceptance of betting. The act was titled the Pennsylvania Racehorse Development and Gaming Act, and they also created the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) and approved wagering and racetracks within PA.

It was undeniable that horse sports were a feasible niche that would create thousands of new jobs and rake in funds for Pennsylvania. In addition, the income generated by the track and machines would be used to provide asset tax relief, different horse breeders within Pennsylvania counties, and other money created by Act 71.

As young Pennsylvanians grew up and became adults, their different views on betting have become more liberal, and betting is now widely accepted. Another reason gambling was accepted among Pennsylvanians was that the old connection between betting and criminality has diminished as the casino ownership structure has been transferred to publicly traded organizations.

Within the first year of service, seven gambling companies produced over billion-dollar income machines that generated about $766,000,000 in tax revenue. Before the end of the last few weeks of 2009, the PA casino gambling industry’s income exceeded those from other states except Nevada. The success of this bill resulted in calls for more wagering legislation to be passed in Pennsylvania.

As of 2019, Pennsylvania’s online casino gambling has been on the right track, and PA’s reputation as a premier and well-respected gaming state has long been sealed.


The key benefits of gambling in Pennsylvania

  • Since the state has shown proper financial management, the money generated from the Pennsylvania gambling industry, including those raised from increased tax rates and certification, can offset some of Pennsylvania's state and county deficit
  • The funds generated from PA gambling can be used to create new jobs for residents and even those who live outside Pennsylvania.
  • Pennsylvania's betting income can even provide asset tax relief for older adults and horse breeders within the Keystone State.
  • PA gambling online, in general, can help to improve the economy of the state on all fronts.

Responsible Gaming in Pennsylvania

If you or a loved one has seen that gambling is creating issues in your or that loved one’s life, we strongly suggest you seek answers, collect information, and do your homework on the kind of assistance that best suits your circumstances. Due to the 2017 regulation of online gambling, there have been quite a few reliable gaming sites in the state, and there's a tendency that more will spring up later.

Needless to say, responsible gaming is a key consideration of the PGCB (Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board), and, as such, it has put in place several means for players to seek help when needed. In addition, since it is responsible for player protection and well-being as well as safe gambling practices, it offers, along with other casino gambling sites, different self-help options and tools that any player can make use of to safely manage their gambling issue. For instance, players can exclude themselves from any gambling game or site and they can set limits on their playing time and deposits.

  • Land-based gaming: Manual gaming in PA, unlike online gambling in Pennsylvania, focuses on racetracks and native commercial gambling casino companies that offer some betting-style sports.
  • Pari-mutuel horse: PA State law permits race betting, including pari-mutuel horses, accessible at different off-track centers.
  • Generous wagering: This is allowed within the boundaries of Pennsylvania.
  • State-managed betting: Pennsylvania has a system of state-managed betting that's part of a different federal money pool.

Since digital wagering became moderated in 2017, there are more legalized online gambling websites in the state.


Gambling in Pennsylvania is relatively easy, and gamblers can choose from various available gaming options and websites, including mobile apps designed specifically for gambling. However, while earlier PA residents rejected gambling legalization in the 1990s due to perceived harm in gambling, the recent repeal of PASPA, which resulted in its widespread approval within PA and the US in general, has made residents realize that it's loaded with benefits.

For example, within the first year of legalization, seven gambling companies in Pennsylvania generated over a billion dollars in revenue, generating approximately $766 million in tax revenue for the state. Pennsylvania's economy has gotten better in many ways since gambling became legal This has helped the state government manage the economy and find funding for various programs that help older people and people who raise horses for races, among other residents of the state

With the benefits that gambling has brought to Pennsylvania, it's obvious that the legalization of casinos in Pennsylvania and the entire US will add value to the state and nation in general rather than causing harm, as traditional residents and some financial analysts have visualized. And the moral of the story? It’s best not to judge a book by its cover. Pennsylvania has proven that, despite many obstacles in its path, it will rise and exceed expectations. And so far, its risks have paid off double, even, triplefold.


What kinds of gambling are there in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, you'll find a variety of legal online gambling options: Online Casinos, Online Sportsbooks, Online Poker, Daily Fantasy Sports, Online Lottery Games, and more. Keep in mind, all these platforms are regulated by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, guaranteeing fair play and player security.

Which law is used to regulate the gambling age Pennsylvania and sites?

Section 5512 of the PA Act regulates the gambling age in Pennsylvania and on its sites. Therefore, the present guidelines do not punish bettors who play illegal games in Pennsylvania.

Is online gambling legal in PA, and who can play it?

Yes, online gambling is authorized in the Keystone State. Among the gambling options that players in the state can choose are poker, sports betting apps, online casino games, online lottery, and daily fantasy sports. The gambling age in PA is 21 years old at a minimum. This means that potential bettors must be at least this age at the time of betting before they can be accepted to bet legally in Pennsylvania. Also they must be residing in PA at the time they're betting and they must also have a smartphone, computer desktop, or other devices.

What are the available online casinos in Pennsylvania?

The virtual casinos available to bettors residing in Pennsylvania include sports betting, horse racing, casino gambling, and more.

Wia Van Cauwenberghe
Editor | Writer

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