Like other states moving into the online gambling space, Pennsylvania restricts real money play by geographical location. Most online casinos operating in Pennsylvania’s jurisdiction allow anyone at least 21 years of age to join from anywhere in the United States. However, they must be physically located within the state’s boundaries to play for real money.
The casinos follow the rules as strictly as possible and it’s not recommended to try to circumvent the IP address identification with any proxies or software. If you are caught gambling from outside the state lines you could lose your winnings and may face prosecution.
Real money online casino gaming in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania’s online gaming laws require the operators to either have or be affiliated with a land-based casino in Pennsylvania. In other words, you cannot simply launch an online gaming company and start offering games to Pennsylvania residents. This restriction is required to ensure that Pennsylvania doesn’t violate any federal wire transfer laws.
Nearly 13 million people lived in Pennsylvania as of 2018 but what makes the state such a magnet for online gambling is the fact that millions of people pass through the state every year. The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development estimates that 197 million domestic travelers pass through Pennsylvania each year, spending over $41 billion. International visitors spend an estimated additional $2.8 billion.
There is money to be made in Pennsylvania and that includes money in the gambling industry. There are 31 casinos and pari-mutuel betting facilities located throughout Pennsylvania. Philadelphia alone is host to 7 land-based casinos. Pennsylvania also operates one of the oldest state lottery systems, which was authorized in 1971.
It’s safe to say that gambling is a big part of Pennsylvania’s economy. The state government reports over $1.5 billion in annual tax revenues from the gambling industry alone, which generates about $3.3 billion in total revenue.
The state’s 12 land-based casinos remain profitable and grew their collective revenues by over $25 million in slots, but the real story is in sports betting. The Pennsylvania sports betting industry grew its 2018 revenues by over $40 million.
Table gaming has become less popular among Pennsylvania residents and it’s obvious they love the slots and sportsbooks. When you browse the list of online casinos below, you’ll see that sports betting is a major component for several of them.
What are the requirements for online gambling in Pennsylvania?
You must be at least 21 years of age. Even though pari-mutuel betting is legal for people 18 – 20, the online casinos have settled on a minimum age of 21. This may inconvenience some younger bettors but it improves enforcement and simplifies the gaming process for everyone else.
Any legal resident of the United States may join the online casinos. Joining entitles you to play their online games for free in “demo mode”. Some of the casino sites may allow non-members to play their games in demo mode as well.
You must have a legal bank account or payment processor to fund your online casino account. PayPal is a popular option available on the banking pages. But you need to provide your personal information and the sites will attempt to verify that you are located in Pennsylvania before allowing you to make real-money bets.
You can fund your casino account from any location in the United States. Hence, if you’re flying from Montana to Pennsylvania next week and want to play online while there, you can theoretically fund your account before you get on the plane and have the funds available when you arrive.
Of course, all regular banking laws and processes apply. You may have to wait for pending transactions to settle before you can use money.
Do Pennsylvania online casinos offer signup bonuses and promotions?
Yes. Every online casino we reviewed has several bonus and promotional offers for both new and returning players.
Read the terms and conditions carefully before you join an online casino and attempt to use its bonus programs.
The casino operators also have rewards programs. A member loyalty or rewards program is different from a promotional bonus offer. Loyalty programs allow you to earn points and use those to enjoy additional benefits. Bonus promotions are usually 1-time offers, although they may be offered more than once.
Do Pennsylvania online casinos support Apple customers?
The Apple smart phone market is very important to online gambling companies. We found that several of them support Apple products.
Because gambling apps are not allowed in online app stores for Apple or Android mobile users, you’ll need to download the apps from the companies’ websites. Do not download gambling apps from third-party sites, as they may be compromised with malware, spyware, or in some other way.
Top real money online casinos in PA
Here are Pennsylvania’s top rated online casinos offering real money online slots and table games. Follow links to read full reviews and find best bonus offers available at the PA online casinos.
Caesars is one of the most well-know casino brand names in the world. Made famous by daredevil stunts as well as movie and TV appearances, Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas is only one of many locations around the world owned by Caesars Entertainment Corporation.
Although only a handful of properties operate under the Caesar’s brand, the company announced plans to enter the Pennsylvania online gaming market through its Harrah’s Philadelphia gaming license.
The Caesar’s Pennsylvania online gaming site uses software from Scientific Games’ NYX platform, just as the Caesar’s site for New Jersey does.
Pennsylvania residents will be able to play slot games, table games, and online poker.
MGM Resorts International is famous for its hotel and casino properties. The company operates several brands through subsidiaries and spinoffs, just as Caesars Entertainment Corporation does.
MGM is one of two out-of-state licensees approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to operate an online casino for the state’s players. MGM’s application was based on its Borgata licenses for the state of New Jersey.
MGM’s online casino offers slots gaming, table games, and poker. Live dealer games are included in the catalog, although they may not be available in Pennsylvania.
MGM’s online gaming platforms are provided by GVC/Partypoker, which entered into a full strategic partnership with MGM in 2018.
Golden Nugget Casino
Golden Nugget is one of only 2 outside gaming companies to apply for online licensing in the state of Pennsylvania. The Golden Nugget is almost as well-known within the United States as Caesars and MGM’s brands, even though there are only 5 Golden Nugget casinos. The brand is owned and operated by Houston-based Landry’s Restaurants, which acquired the former Golden Nugget company in 2005.
The Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino Atlantic City applied for the Pennsylvania license. The Golden Nugget previously offered online gaming for New Jersey players via a partnership with SBTech.
Pennsylvania residents can enjoy slots and table games via its website and mobile app. The online casino does not offer poker games at the present time.
The Golden Nugget’s New Jersey online games include live dealer blackjack and unlimited blackjack tables. However, until the Golden Nugget can find a Pennsylvania partner to host the live dealer games these are not available to Pennsylvania residents.
Hollywood Casino is officially the oldest online casino in Pennsylvania, being the first to apply for and receive a gaming license for online play.
The land-based Hollywood Casino operates at Penn National Race Course, which is owned and operated by Penn National Gaming. PNG bills itself as “America’s largest regional gaming operator” and they are listed as the 3rd largest commercial casino operator in the United States.
Hollywood Casino is thus backed by a lot of expertise and experience in the gambling industry. The company operates many well-known brands in other parts of the country, including Argosy, Boomtown, River City, and Tropicana.
Hollywood Casino’s online Pennsylvania gaming platform includes games from IGT and NetEnt, both familiar names to online players. IGT is also the world’s largest and oldest land-based slot manufacturer with an extensive catalog of popular games.
Sugarhouse Casino is owned and operated by Rush Street Gaming, a holding company founded by Neil Bluhm and Greg Carlin. Rush Street Gaming operates affiliates or subsidiaries including Rush Street Interactive and Midwest Gaming Holdings, LLC. Midwest Gaming is best known for operating Churchill Downs and the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, IL.
SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia was acquired by Rush Street and its partners and renamed Rivers Philadelphia Casino, but the SugarHouse Casino brand lives on in the online website. PlaySugarHouse.Com was launched in September 2016 and is considered by many to be the most popular of Pennsylvania’s online casinos.
Among SugarHouse’s online accomplishments is being the first Pennsylvania gaming provider to make its games available to Apple users. The PlaySugarHouse.Com site is available to both New Jersey and Pennsylvania residents.
Pennsylvania players can choose from hundreds of slot games provided by Everi, IGT, and NetEnt – all names very well-known to slots enthusiasts.
SugarHouse Casino offers an online sportsbook site. Rush Street is also the first company to offer licensed sports betting in South America. Their commitment to sports betting is solid.
Unibet is one of the largest international operators of online casinos. Their brand is well-known in Europe and they didn’t hesitate to move into licensed USA online gaming when states began allowing it. Unibet is also one of the oldest online gaming companies, tracing its history to a Swedish racing and sports betting newsletter launched in 1997. Unibet Group plc changed its name to Kindred Group plc in 2016 but continues to operate Unibet as a separate brand in multiple jurisdictions.
Unibet prides itself on its staff’s real-world gambling experience and its mobile-friendly sites and apps.
To enter the Pennsylvania market, Unibet partnered with the world-famous Mohegan Sun Pocono casino, which is one of the largest land-based casinos in the world.
Unibet Pennsylvania offers sports betting just like its European counterparts, so USA residents who play in Pennsylvania will enjoy the robust Unibet experience.
The online casino uses NetEnt software for its games.
You are responsible for complying with Pennsylvania’s online gambling laws. It’s a great market and the competition looks pretty good. But like all other states in the USA Pennsylvania must protect itself, its online gaming businesses, and its players from accidentally violating any federal laws related to gambling.
If you’re not yet ready to gamble in Pennsylvania then don’t fret. Time is on your side. Most Americans should be able to plan a trip to or through the state.
Each of the online casinos offers a slightly different experience. Think of the state’s requirements as the bare minimum that every licensed online casino must comply with.
When comparing online casinos you’ll find their banking options are approximately the same. Look deeper. You’ll want to check out their loyalty rewards programs, their promotional bonuses, and their game offerings.
The fact that several different gaming platforms have partnered with these casinos means there is real competition for your time and gambling budget in the Pennsylvania online market. You’ll find a variety of games, and you may want to join more than one online casino to enjoy them all.
There is no reason not to join all the casinos since you don’t have to deposit any money to do so. By practicing with their “demo play” versions you’ll learn how the games work and what to expect.
The bottom line here is that Pennsylvania has made online gaming a real opportunity for millions of people across the country, even if it’s not a perfect experience. You don’t need to worry about anything as long as you follow the rules.
And have fun. Gambling should always be about having fun.
If you’re not sure if you have a gambling problem, read about responsible gambling. Set limits and protect yourself and your family.