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Online gambling is legal in Pennsylvania for players 21 or older thanks to a wide-ranging gaming expansion bill passed in 2017. Residents and visitors alike are welcome to play online for real money at licensed casinos from anywhere within state lines.
Among other things, the gaming expansion bill authorized the state’s land-based casinos to take their operations online. The first PA online casinos opened in July 2019 with slots, table games, video poker and more on offer.
Pennsylvania is now home to a bustling online gambling industry and players have options galore. There is a lot to know, but our PA online gambling guide will get you up to speed in no time.
Below you will find a list of licensed online casinos along with all the details you need to know regarding deposit bonuses, mobile gambling apps, state law and much more.
Best PA Online Casinos
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) is responsible for issuing licenses, ensuring a safe environment for consumers and promoting responsible gambling habits. A handful of online casinos have been approved for real money play and are now open for business.
Legal PA gambling sites can be identified by the PGCB logo displayed on each website’s homepage. Additionally, players can verify the authenticity of any gaming license by visiting the PGCB website for a complete list of licensed operators.
Licensed Gambling Sites
- SugarHouse Casino: pa.playsugarhouse.com
- Hollywood Casino: pa.hollywoodcasino.com
- PokerStars Casino: starsmtairycasino.com
- Parx Casino: pa.parxcasino.com
- Unibet Casino: pa.unibet.com
Mobile Gambling in Pennsylvania
Most of Pennsylvania’s licensed online casinos have launched mobile gambling apps for iOS, Android or both platforms to date. You can get started by visiting any casino’s website from your mobile device to sign up for an account and download the official app.
Some PA gambling sites also offer mobile-friendly versions of their websites that require no download at all. All you need to do is visit the casino website to sign up for an account and all games will be displayed through your browser.
A Note for Android Users
Google does not allow gambling related apps on the Play Store, which means all Android gambling apps must be downloaded directly from the casino website of your choice. You can get started by visiting the casino website on your mobile device and then looking for the download page there.
The casino website will explain how to install the app manually since there is no way to download casino apps through the Play Store.
A Note for iPhone Users
Apple updated its developer guidelines in 2019 requiring all gambling-related apps to be designed natively for iOS as opposed to simply repackaging HTML5 games within the app. The technical details behind the update are beyond the scope of this page, but the end result is most PA online casinos were forced to redesign their iPhone apps from scratch to comply with the new rules.
This resulted in setbacks and some online casinos have not yet finished developing native iOS apps. Therefore, some gambling sites still do not offer an iOS download. Instead, you will be directed to simply log in through your browser to play games online with no download needed until a native app is released.
Most Popular Online Casinos in Pennsylvania
We can look at the latest revenue reports from the PA Gaming Control Board to determine the most popular online casinos by the most unbiased metric there is: how much money is wagered at each.
First, a couple of caveats. These numbers are bound to change month to month as a part of the natural ebb and flow of the online gaming industry. Also, keep in mind the PA online gambling industry is still relatively new. Things are bound to change as the various operators compete for customers. You can check the latest revenue numbers any time by visiting the revenue tab on the PGCB website.
Additionally, just because a casino is popular does not necessarily mean it is the best for your personal needs. Every online casino has its unique points. There are good reasons some gambling sites become more popular than others, but marketing budgets also play a big role in these rankings. A big marketing budget may increase popularity without necessarily increasing quality.
Still, it helps to know which online casinos are the most popular in terms of revenue. They are obviously doing something right.
Rivers Casino Philadelphia has proven the most popular of late with more online slots and table games revenue than any other gambling site in the state. Rivers Casino operates online under the PlaySugarHouse brand currently but is expected to rebrand to Rivers Casino Online in the near future.
Hollywood Casino ranks in second place for online slots and table games, followed by Parx Casino, PokerStars Casino and Unibet Casino in that order.
PA Online Casino Bonuses
Promotions and bonuses play a key role in the marketing efforts of PA casinos that are vying for your business in an increasingly competitive market.
Licensed gambling sites now offer customers a variety of welcome bonuses and ongoing promotions all designed to attract new players or earn the loyalty of current players. Some of the most common types of bonuses you’ll find as a PA gambler include:
- Registration Bonuses: No deposit is needed to claim registration bonuses. You simply sign up for an account, verify your identity and are greeted with a little bit of welcome cash. In most cases, the bonus itself cannot be withdrawn and may only be withdrawn after making a deposit.
- Deposit Bonuses: The classic deposit bonus is a staple in online gambling. You sign up for an account, make a deposit and are given bonus money in return. Welcome bonuses are usually offered as a percentage of your first deposit. For example, a 100% bonus matches your first deposit with an equal amount in bonus funds.
- Free Spins: Some casino promotions offer customers free spins on certain slots for customers who complete some task such as making a deposit within the next week, placing a certain dollar amount of wagers and so on.
- Leaderboard challenges: Leaderboard challenges offer bonuses or cash giveaways to the players who place the most wagers on within a set time frame such as the next week. The most active players move up the leaderboard and the winners at the end of the challenge are given bonuses, cash or other perks.
- Reload bonuses: Reload bonuses work in the same basic manner as new customer deposit bonuses but are open to existing customers. If you already have an account and a reload bonus is offered, you can make a fresh deposit to claim a bonus.
- Cash Back Refund Offers: This type of bonus offers customers a chance to try the casino nearly risk free by promising to refund their losses if they are down money after a set amount of time. For example, a casino may offer to refund your deposit up to $100 if you are down money after your first week as a customer.
- Refer-a-Friend Bonuses: PA online casinos know the power of word-of-mouth and are willing to drop money in your account for referring your friends. Most casinos have a feature in which you can input the e-mail addresses of your friends. Referral bonuses are usually in the range of $25 and sometimes give your referred friends money as well in addition to the usual new customer bonus.
Important terms and conditions to be aware of are described below. Every bonus comes with certain requirements that must be met in order to claim the bonus and cash out winnings.
- Cashable vs. non-cashable: Most PA casino bonuses are non-cashable, which means the bonus itself cannot be withdrawn but any winnings are yours to keep. In other words, the bonus is offered as site credit. Occasionally, you will find a cashable bonus in which the original bonus and winnings may be withdrawn.
- Rollover requirements: Also known as wagering requirements, rollover requirements refer to how much money must be wagered in order to unlock the bonus and/or winnings for withdrawal. For example, a 10x rollover means customers must place a total amount of wagers equal to ten times the bonus amount prior to withdrawing.
- Eligible games to clear the bonus: One easily missed term attached to most bonuses is the list of eligible games that count towards meeting the rollover requirements. Wagers placed on slots usually count 100% towards the requirements while wagers on table games such as blackjack may count as little as 10% towards the rollover.
- Your physical location: PA gambling law prohibits online casinos from offering bonuses to customers not physically located within state lines, including no-deposit bonuses.
Online Deposit Options
PA regulations concerning player accounts allow casinos to accept most common types of deposit methods. 58 PA Code § 812.7 states customers may fund their accounts via:
- Cash deposits made in person with the gambling site’s associated land-based casino
- Personal checks, cashier’s checks, wire transfers and money orders
- Credit cards, debit cards and prepaid cards
- Cash, gaming vouchers or gaming chips at a “cashiering location approved by the Board”
- A reloadable prepaid card that has been verified as issued to that customer and is nontransferable
- Cash complimentaries, promotional credits or bonus credits
- ACH transfers
- “Any other means as approved by the Board”
These rules give online casinos significant leeway when it comes to accepting deposits. Some of the other deposit methods that have been approved in Pennsylvania include PayPal, Skrill and PayNearMe.
Games Online Casinos May Offer in Pennsylvania
Under PA gambling law, casinos may apply for licenses to offer online slots, table games, player-vs-player poker and sports betting. Most casinos hold licenses to offer online slots, table games and sports betting while just a few have also applied for online poker licenses.
Regulations issued by the Gaming Control Board further explain that all licensees must acquire the approval of the Board prior to launching additional table games.
From 58 PA Code § 810.9:
Prior to offering a table game authorized under this subpart governing interactive gaming in this Commonwealth, the interactive gaming certificate holder or interactive gaming operator licensee shall submit and obtain approval of a Rules Submission which specifies which options the interactive gaming certificate holder or interactive gaming operator will use in the conduct of the table game.
Licensed gambling sites have not launched a ton of table games to date. Blackjack, baccarat and roulette can be found at most gambling sites, but there is definitely an industry-wide shortage of games beyond those. We still have not found a single online craps table anywhere in PA.
Table games that can be found online today:
- Video poker
Slots feature heavily at all licensed online casinos in Pennsylvania. State law allows licensed gambling sites to contract with third party developers to provide customers with a wide variety of game types and styles.
Developers such as NetEnt, IGT, Everi and more have been approved to offer their services to casinos in PA to date.
Types of slots that are offered by licensed gambling sites include:
- Progressive jackpot games
- Traditional reel slots
- Video slots
Live Dealer Games
Live dealer games are authorized in Pennsylvania. For those unfamiliar with the concept, live dealer games bring the real casino experience to you by employing human dealers, actual gaming equipment and streaming video.
After you select your wager(s) from your desktop or mobile device, you watch in real time as a real dealer shuffles the cards or drops the roulette ball into the spinning wheel to determine the outcome.
58 PA Code § 817.1 regulates the conduct of live dealer games in Pennsylvania. Casinos or third-party companies that provide “live studio simulcasting” services must be licensed by the PGCB and are required to:
- Provide trained dealers
- Provide players with real time visual access to the game being played
- Prevent anyone from accessing the wagering outcome prior to finalizing a wager
- Record all dealer-verified outcomes before posting
- Be able to void game results if necessary
- Provide players with the table number, location, minimum wager and maximum wager
Noted live dealer solutions provider Evolution Gaming received PGCB approval in September 2019 to become the state’s first such provider to be licensed in Pennsylvania. Evolution Gaming later reached a deal with Penn National Gaming to launch live dealer games at Hollywood Online Casino.
How Online Gambling is Regulated in Pennsylvania
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) is responsible for overseeing the conduct of online gambling and issuing licenses to operators, service providers and key employees.
The 2017 gaming expansion law directed the PGCB to develop additional regulations as needed. The PGCB did so the following year with a 349-page document issuing rules regarding how licenses are issued, how online casino platforms must function and much more.
Pennsylvania’s online casino regulations are extensive in what they cover, but some of the key points follow. Note that the following bullet points are far from comprehensive; we are only detailing some of the many rules that operators are bound to follow in Pennsylvania.
Physical Equipment Security
- Physical equipment such as servers must be protected with security barriers, prevent access to unauthorized individuals and protect against disasters such as fires, floods and earthquakes
- Secure areas must be protected with an intrusion detection system and all attempts at unauthorized access must be logged
- Operators must maintain logs of user access, security incidents and unusual transactions
- All communication between players and operators must be encrypted
- All data necessary to recreate player gameplay and account activity must be stored for at least 10 years
- Networks must have security protocols in place to protect against unauthorized access, DDOS attacks and other hacks
- Online casinos must be able to accurately detect the physical location of every player and prevent real money play from anywhere outside state lines
- Interactive gaming systems must dynamically monitor each player’s location and block access from restricted locations throughout the duration of the gaming session
- All statements and graphics displayed to players must be accurate and not misleading
- All game rules and pay table information must be easily available to players
- Game rules and pay table information must fully explain all applicable rules and how to participate in all stages of the game
- Players must be informed of all fees, rakes, commissions and the like
- If the game displays a maximum win amount, it must be possible to win that amount in a single game
- Table games that use multiple decks of cards must clearly state the number of cards and decks being used
Minimum Display Standards
The following information must be clearly visible or easily accessible to all players at all times.
- Name of the game being played
- Restrictions on play or betting such as play duration limits, maximum wins and so on
- Player’s current session balance
- The current bet amount
- Current placement of all bets
- The current denomination of the bet
- The amount won for the last completed game
- The options the player selected for the last completed game
- The winning amount for each separate wager and total winning amount must both be displayed on the screen
Random Number Generator Standards
Random number generators (RNGs) used to provide random results in games must meet the following standards.
- Able to provide statistically independent results
- Be fairly distributed within statistically expected bounds
- Pass various statistical tests
- Be cryptographically strong
- Interactive gaming platforms must monitor RNG results and disable play if anomalous results are detected
- Game outcomes may not be dependent on bandwidth or other characteristics of the communication channel between the player and the online casino
- Game outcomes based on chance may only derive from approved RNGs
- Games may not give players the false expectation of better odds by misrepresenting any occurrence or event
- Games may not give players the impression of being able to impact game outcomes via skill if that is not actually possible or is not clearly addressed in the game’s rules
PA online casinos must collect and verify the following information from each player prior to allowing them to play for real money:
- Legal name
- Date of birth
- Physical address
- E-mail address
- Phone number
- Last four digits of player’s social security number or equivalent (passport or taxpayer identification number)
- Any other information needed to verify the player’s identity
Operators must verify this information via third-party and governmental databases as approved by the PGCB.
Operators must also verify each player is 21 and is not self-excluded or otherwise prohibited from participating.
Player Account Security
Online gaming operators must promote player account security by:
- Requiring each customer to set a username and complex password
- Provide players with the option to use strong authentication login protection
- Display the time and date of the player’s last login at each login
- Provide players with the option to receive an e-mail or cell phone alert whenever their accounts are accessed
- Require players to re-enter their username/password when inactive for greater than 15 minutes
- Must supply players with an account statement on demand detailing deposits and withdrawals, win/loss statistics, beginning and ending account balances, and self-imposed responsible gaming limit history if applicable
Responsible Gambling Requirements
Licensed online casinos must promote responsible gambling habits by:
- Displaying the following message on the website or mobile app upon logging in and logging out: If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, help is available. Call 1-800-GAMBLER
- Licensed operators may not send gaming related mail or e-mail to customers who have self-excluded
- Online and mobile casinos must display the current time and length of play time
- A pop-up notification must be given at least every hour showing the length of play time and amount of money wagered since logging in; players must have the option to select 15-minute and 30-minute intervals for such pop-up notifications
- Casinos must offer optional self-imposed gaming limits during the account creation process
Operators must also offer the following gaming-limit controls to players:
- Daily, weekly and monthly deposit limits
- Daily, weekly and monthly loss limits
- A limit on the maximum amount of any single wager
- Time-based limits
- Temporary account restrictions for any number of hours or days as requested by the player
Online Gambling Law
Pennsylvania legalized online gambling with the passage of HB 271 (Act 42 of 2017). The law expanded legal gaming options across the commonwealth, both online and land-based.
Under Act 42 of 2017, land-based casinos in Pennsylvania were given the opportunity to apply for licenses to offer three types of online gaming:
- Peer-to-peer interactive games (online poker)
- Non-peer-to-peer interactive games which simulate slot machines (online slots)
- Non-peer-to-peer interactive games which simulate table games (online table games)
For the first 90 days the law took effect, casinos could apply for all three licenses at a package price of $10 million. For the first 91-120 days after the law took effect, casinos could apply for each license category individually at a price of $4 million each.
120 days after the law took effect, “qualified gaming entities” (QGEs) from other states were allowed to apply for any unclaimed online gaming licenses. Two out-of-state operators applied as QGEs under this provision:
- MGM Resorts International for online slots, table games and poker
- Golden Nugget Atlantic City for online slots and table games
Once approved, licensed online gambling operators may launch their own platforms or partner with experienced third-party operators for technical assistance and branding purposes. For example, international operator Unibet secured access to the PA market through a partnership with Mohegan Sun Pocono.
Act 42 also established the following tax rates for online gambling.
- Online table games: 14%
- Online slots: 52%
- Online poker: 14%
- Online sports betting: 36%
In addition to legalizing online gambling, Act 42 created a new category of land-based casinos known as “mini casinos.” The law authorized the construction of up to 10 mini casinos, which may have between 300 and 750 slots machines plus 30 table games. Each mini casino must be owned and operated by an existing casino license holder.
Act 42 also authorized interactive gaming parlors at airports, authorized video gaming terminals at qualifying truck stops, regulated daily fantasy sports and approved the state lottery to go online.
Problem Gambling Resources in Pennsylvania
Responsible gambling plays a prominent role in Pennsylvania’s gaming regulations and the PGCB provides a handy collection of problem gambling resources here. Additionally, players or those with concerns on behalf of a loved one may get help from the following resources:
- Gaming Control Board self-exclusion information and registration
- Council on Compulsive Gambling of Pennsylvania: Local help hotlines, meetings and information – text by phone, chat online or call 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537)
- National Council on Problem Gambling: National resource with 24/7 confidential help via hotlines, text messaging and live chat
- Gamblers Anonymous: Nationwide fellowship for problem gamblers who want to quit – local meetings held throughout PA
- Gam-Anon: Help resource for the friends, family and loved ones of problem gamblers
- Gamtalk: Moderated self-help community for problem gamblers
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the minimum age to gamble online in Pennsylvania?
The legal gambling age in PA is 21.
Do I have to be located in Pennsylvania to preview the games?
No. Players may sign up for accounts, make deposits and preview the games from anywhere but must be located within state lines to place wagers.
Do I have to be a state resident to gamble online in PA?
No. Residents and visitors are both welcome to play online provided they are 21 or older and physically present within Pennsylvania borders.
Why is my gambling site asking for my social security number?
This is standard operating procedure for all licensed PA online casinos. Regulations adopted by the Gaming Control Board require gaming operators to collect this information in order to verify each customer’s identity and age.
Why was my credit card deposit declined?
Some issuing banks do not process transactions to or from gambling websites, even if those sites are licensed and legal in the USA. This may be due to outdated policies related to illegal offshore gambling or because the issuing bank deems gambling-related transactions to be too high risk.