Best online gambling sites in Pennsylvania
Now that July 15 has come and gone, the PA online casino industry is finally up and running.
Both Parx and SugarHouse offer integrated sportsbooks and online casinos. PlaySugarHouse broke ground with the first offering available to iOS users. Players simply sync up the browser version of SugarHouse with the Geo Guard third-party geolocation app and they are good to go.
With new online casinos and sports betting sites regularly rolling out, you probably have plenty of questions. We’ve got everything you need to know about Pennsylvania’s real-money online gambling, including how to sign up, the best deposit and no-deposit offers, and what kinds of games and promos you can find at each PA online casino site.
Latest Pennsylvania online gambling news
How To Install GeoGuard And Start Playing And Betting On Your iPhone In PA
SugarHouse Is Third PA Online Casino To Launch, But The Only One On iPhone
With FanDuel Tioga Downs Taking Bets In NY, Northern PA Has A New Sportsbook Option
Parx Online Casino And Sportsbook Are One App: What Does That Mean For Parx Customers?
Spotlight On PA’s First Online Gambling Site: HollywoodCasino.com
Don’t Expect Any Online Poker On July 15: Here’s Why
When will online casinos in PA launch?
When it comes to Pennsylvania online casinos, the goal was one simultaneous rollout date on July 15. The PA Gaming Control Board announced the date roughly 90 days out.
Even with the lead-up time though, only a few PA online casino options will be ready to go. Most PA online casino operators are reporting delays on their end. With that in mind, do not expect more than a couple of live PA online casinos upon launch.
So far, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) has approved ten PA casinos for their interactive gaming licenses. The only two potential new licensees still in the process are out-of-state applicants MGM and Golden Nugget. Both are approved qualified gaming entities. However, neither has been approved for a license.
PA online sports betting is live
There are now multiple options for PA sports betting, including three online sportsbooks apps.
Pennsylvania got its retail sports betting market up and running on Nov. 17 when Hollywood Casino Sportsbook opened up betting. Now there are eight retail sportsbooks operations with three more on the way.
What does the PA online gambling market look like?
Most everyone is getting involved in the PA online casino and sports betting industries in one way or another. In fact, there are also several outside companies taking part.
Here is a look at all the companies involved in online casinos, who their partners are, and where they are in the process:
|Casino||Existing online partners||Potential or speculated partner||Sports betting partners||Interactive application status||Sports betting application status|
|Harrah's Philadelphia||888||N/A||Scientific Games||Conditionally approved||Launched Jan. 24|
|Hollywood Casino at Penn National||IGT||N/A||William Hill||Conditionally approved||Launched Nov. 17|
|Mount Airy||888 / PokerStars||N/A||BetStars||Conditionally approved||Conditionally approved, launching late summer|
|Parx||GAN||N/A||Kambi||Conditionally approved||Launched Jan. 10|
|Rivers Casino Pittsburgh||SugarHouse / Rush Street Interactive||N/A||Kambi||Did not apply||Launched Dec. 15|
|Wind Creek (formerly Sands Bethlehem)||N/A||N/A||N/A||Conditionally approved||Plan to apply|
|SugarHouse (Rivers Philadelphia)||Rush Street Interactive / Kambi||N/A||Kambi||Conditionally approved||Retail: Dec. 15, 2018
Online: May, 31 2019
|Valley Forge Casino||IGT / GAN||partypoker / GVC||FanDuel||Conditionally approved||Launched March 13|
|Stadium Park Philly Live! Casino||N/A||GAN||N/A||Conditionally approved||Plan to apply|
|Presque Isle Downs||Golden Nugget||NetEnt||SBTech, IGT||Conditionally approved||Conditionally approved, launching late summer|
|Mohegan Sun Pocono||Kindred||N/A||N/A||Conditionally approved||Conditionally approved, launching late summer|
|MGM Resorts||bwin.party||partypoker / GVC||N/A||Approved QGE||Not eligible|
|Golden Nugget NJ||NYX||N/A||N/A||Approved QGE||Not eligible|
PA online casino operator profiles
- Harrah’s Philadelphia
- Hollywood Casino
- Mount Airy Casino
- Parx Casino
- Wind Creek (formerly Sands Bethlehem)
- SugarHouse Casino
- Valley Forge Casino
- Mohegan Sun Pocono
Two other casinos opted for online table games and slots licenses, but will not offer online poker. Those properties are Presque Isle Downs and the forthcoming Stadium Casino project.
That leaves three casinos sitting out. Rivers Casino initially applied, but rescinded its application. It will promote the rebranded Rivers Philadelphia online casino when it launches. Lady Luck Nemacolin and The Meadows are not taking part, likely deferring to their sister properties of Presque Isle and Hollywood Casino respectively.
SugarHouse and Rivers Casinos
Siblings are generally expected to share things, which is the case with sister properties, SugarHouse Casino and Rivers Casino Pittsburgh.
Rivers did not apply for any interactive gambling licenses. However, SugarHouse applied for all three. Moreover, SugarHouse is in the process of rebranding to Rivers Casino Philadelphia. So, at online casino launch, both properties will promote the one online casino bearing the Rivers name.
The PA online casino site will use the proprietary Rush Street Interactive platform. You can get a great sense of what to expect by popping over to the PlaySugarHouse NJ online casino. Most notably, you can check out the roughly 500 different slot titles to choose from.
There are plenty of table games options as well though, including over a dozen versions of video poker as well as several blackjack variants.
If you’ve spent any time at all on Caesars Online Casino in New Jersey, then you actually have a good idea of what to expect from Harrah’s Philadelphia Online Casino when it launches in summer 2019.
A product of Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIE) and Nyx, the NJ platform features a robust list of games, including a couple hundred different slot titles an all your favorite table games on both its browser-based client and its online casino app.
When Harrah’s Philadelphia launches, you can also take advantage of one of the best rewards programs in the business, Caesars Rewards. Your online play can translate into brick and mortar casino rewards at any Caesars properties across the country.
And, of course, Harrah’s Philadelphia’s online gambling offerings will eventually include the largest regulated online poker site in the US, WSOP.com. At launch, the site will likely not be sharing players with sister WSOP sites in Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware, but PA law does allow for shared player liquidity as an option for the future.
Valley Forge Casino
Valley Forge Casino will soon be up and running with FanDuel Sportsbook sometime in July. The casino has online table games and online slots in the works too.
The current plan is to launch the site as VFCasino.com. The casino’s partnership with FanDuel’s parent company, Flutter Entertainment, means they will get to work with GAN on the online casino product. Flutter was previously known as PaddyPower Betfair, so if you want a sense of what to expect from Valley Forge, the Betfair online casino in New Jersey is probably a good indication.
No guarantee some of the same exclusive titles on Betfair will crop up in Valley Forge. However, the hope is there will be a similarly large library of slot titles. Betfair is somewhat lacking in a long list of table games, but it is a dream for slots players.
Presque Isle Downs
The Churchill Downs-owned Presque Isle Downs decided early on not to offer poker, but to move forward on an online casino.
The casino inked deals with SBTech and Golden Nugget in March 2019. For SBTechm it was the first US partnership on a sports betting platform.
The Golden Nugget deal is for CDI to open an online casino in New Jersey, but there is no reason to think the company will differ wildly from its NJ offering in Pennsylvania.
Hollywood Casino at Penn National is the flagship property of Penn National Gaming. The PA-based casino company is relatively new to the online casino game. Accordingly, it inked a deal with IGT last fall to power its online casino product. At time of signing, IGT had yet to debut its PlayDigital products in the US. When HollywoodCasino.com launches in PA, it will be Americans’ first glimpse at what IGT has to offer as a casino platform provider.
Hollywood Casino also is supposed to launch an online poker site, but given that they are starting from scratch and up against seasoned competitors, we do not expect this project to be a priority for Penn.
Mount Airy Casino
Mount Airy Casino has a big-time partner for its online gambling offering in The Stars Group (TSG). While TSG is better known for its online poker client, PokerStars, it is also a veteran online casino provider.
In fact, the company even has practice in a neighboring state. PokerStars NJ online casino utilizes the top-notch TSG software. If the NJ site is any indication, there will be a limited selection of games, as there are just about a dozen slots, some blackjack variants, and roulette. However, it is entirely possible Mount Airy has bigger prospects than TSG’s NJ partner, Resorts Casino.
Additionally, Mount Airy has a high-power sports betting partnership, as TSG is working with Fox Sports to launch the Fox Bet branded online sportsbook in PA, NJ, and other states with regulated sports betting.
Mohegan Sun Pocono
Mohegan Sun is on a bit slower schedule than its peers, as one of the last casinos to present online casino plans. It announced earlier this year it will work with Kindred for online gaming, in particular, sports betting.
In May, Mohegan presented sports betting plans and noted that Pala Interactive would be assisting on the online casino and online poker fronts. The California-based company launched a Pala-branded casino in NJ that is a good barometer of what kind of offerings Mohegan Sun will have in Pennsylvania.
Meanwhile, don’t be confused by Mohegan Sun Online Casino in New Jersey. The Mohegan tribe in Connecticut partnered with Resorts Casino on this venture and NYX powers the platform, so it will not give you any sense of what the PA online casino site will offer.
The biggest casino in Pennsylvania is forging into new territory with online gambling. It did so kicking and screaming. The company repeatedly trying to foil efforts to bring online gambling to Pennsylvania, now they are of the mindset that, if you can’t beat them, join them.
Parx was the second casino to get an online sportsbook product up and running in the state, joining the SugarHouse PA online sportsbook product.
Now it is a matter of wait and see if Parx can get its online casino up and running that quickly. What helps is that Parx and its partner GAN launched a Parx Social Casino product in 2015. If you want an idea what a real-money casino powered by GAN looks, check out Betfair in New Jersey. Don’t draw too many conclusions though, as Parx and Betfair have no relationship. In fact, Betfair works with Parx competitor Valley Forge Casino.
The new kid on the block, Wind Creek is probably better known to Pennsylvania gambling enthusiasts by its previous name, Sands Bethlehem.
The ink is barely dry on the Wind Creek transfer of ownership, so this is a property you should not expect to see any online gambling product from in 2019. Wind Creek’s owners, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, are absolutely pursuing online gambling, but could not lock down a partner or move forward until the $1.3 billion sale of Sands was complete.
Stadium Casino / Philly Live! project
We know Stadium’s owner, Cordish, plans to get involved in both sports betting and online casino. However, it can do neither until the brick and mortar sportsbook opens in December 2020.
With 11 leftover interactive licenses, PGCB opened up the application to qualified gaming entities (QGE) from outside of Pennsylvania.
Rather than partner with an in-state casino, MGM Resorts and Golden Nugget Atlantic City opted to apply. MGM is seeking all three categories of license. Golden Nugget, on the other hand, will not seek an online poker license.
In January, PGCB approved both as QGEs. Next up for the companies is to file petitions for interactive gaming licenses in the categories each are seeking.
Are online casinos legal in PA?
In October 2017, Gov. Tom Wolf signed the state’s massive gambling expansion bill. The legislation created a wealth of new gaming opportunities in the Keystone State, including:
- Online casinos, both slots and table games
- Sports betting
- Online poker
- Online lottery
- Virtual sports
- Satellite casinos
- Video gambling terminals (VGTs)
- Airport gambling
This lengthy list does not mean that Pennsylvania gambling is now a free-for-all. There is a big difference between regulated and unregulated gambling.
The easiest way to tell whether or not a gambling site is legal in PA is to determine if it is vetted and regulated by PGCB. Look for the PGCB seal (pictured left). Or, if you are unsure, you can visit the PGCB website.
Unlike illegal offshore casinos, regulated online casino markets mean customers:
- Know their funds and personal info are safe and secure
- All casino offerings are fair and meet the high standards of PGCB
- Can report any issues or concerns to PGCB for recourse
Responsible gaming at PA online gambling sites
Another great asset in a regulated online casino market is the array of responsible gambling tools at a player’s disposal.
In Pennsylvania, there is a separate self-exclusion list managed by PGCB. Players who want to ban themselves from playing on any regulated PA online casino can do so through them. This list is separate from the brick and mortar self-exclusion list.
Additionally, many online sites, both sports betting and casino, offer means of controlling your play with things like:
- Deposit limits
- Betting limits
- Time limitations
- Cooling off periods
Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-Gambler
If you want other resources to address problem gambling, consider:
Online casino features in Pennsylvania
When online casinos do launch, you can expect most everything available in a brick and mortar casino, and in many instances, even more. Learn more about what PA online gambling sites offer in terms of game selection, bonus offers, and unique online experience.
Games you’ll find in online casinos
Like we said, the list of games online should mirror what you find in your favorite PA casino. Games to expect include:
- Video poker
- Pai gow
- Three card poker
- Hold’em bonus
Do not expect games like virtual sports and Keno at your online casinos in PA. These games are the turf of the Pennsylvania Lottery. They are currently available at PA Lottery monitors in bars and taverns, and should be online at the PA Lottery’s online site eventually, but they will not be debuting on PA online casino sites.
Deposit and no-deposit bonuses
Online gambling sites will try to win new customers with tempting offers to sign up for accounts on the site. Once those sites go live, check back with PA Online Casino for the best offers and exclusive bonus codes to ensure you get the best deals upon signing up.
Many sites will offer an option to test out the online casino without even having to put money on the site. These promotions, called no-deposit bonuses, will offer small amounts like $10 or $25 in exchange for a player signing up for an account.
If you want to just test out the games a PA real-money gambling site has to offer, you don’t have to reach for your wallet either. Most games come with a free-to-play demo where customers can give the game a try before giving it any of their money.
Deposit bonuses offer bigger monetary offers in exchange for customers depositing on the site. These deposit offers often match 100% of your deposit in bonus funds up to a maximum like $200 or $250.
Most bonuses come with certain terms and conditions, like a wagering or playthrough requirement. Be sure to check what a promo entails.
How to deposit and cash out at Pennsylvania online casinos
Getting money on and off online gambling sites in PA is relatively straightforward. For some sites, the options may begin relatively limited, but should eventually expand to include:
- Credit cards
- Electronic checks (ACH deposits)
- Cash deposits at the casino
- Online payment processors such as PayPal
- Prepaid debit card
- PayNearMe at 7Eleven, CVS, and other retail establishments
Withdrawal options are generally limited to the method you used to deposit. For some deposit methods, instead, players will need to opt for a check in the mail.
PA casino loyalty programs
Just like PA brick and mortar casinos reward loyal players, online casinos have programs where players can earn cash, prizes, and other rewards in exchange for playing on the site.
One example players can already take advantage of is iRush Rewards, which sports bettors on both Rivers and SugarHouse can earn rewards and move up a tiered system which offers bigger rewards to higher-level players.
In fact, many of these online promotional programs will sync up with your brick and mortar account. Here are some of the programs we know will interlink online and brick and mortar:
- Caesars Rewards (Harrah’s Philadelphia)
- Rush Rewards (SugarHouse and Rivers)
- MyxClub (Parx)
Live dealer games
A popular feature of many New Jersey online casinos that will carry over to Pennsylvania is live dealer games. Unlike online versions of games like roulette and blackjack that rely on a random number generator and computer graphics, these games play just like you are in a casino.
That is because these games feature a real person as your dealer, dealing real cards, and spinning a real roulette wheel. Cameras in a studio capture the action and players online can even chat and interact with their dealers.
The end result is the comfort of playing the game in the comfort of your home or on the go on your phone but with the fun and social interaction of a PA brick and mortar casino.
Parx is already advertising its online dealer plans, and we expect most casinos will roll out live dealer options at launch or soon thereafter.
Progressive jackpot slots
Like New Jersey online casinos, Pennsylvania online gambling sites should offer progressive slots to attract players as well.
We would caution in advance that what you see in NJ is likely not what you get in PA. You may get some of the more popular progressive slots titles like Divine Fortune, Rags to Riches, and Wonderland. What you may not get is as loose a slot. The PA guidelines on minimum returns to player are some of the lowest in the nation, making for notoriously tight slot machines.
Other online gambling offers in Pennsylvania
PA online lottery games
While casino lovers of PA count the days until launch, there is one way to pass the time. As part of the gambling expansion law, the state-legalized PA online lottery. Pennsylvania’s iLottery launched in May 2017 with a dozen or so online instant games.
These online instant games are like a scratch-off ticket you would buy at the store, but more interactive. Online instants often include bonus games in addition to the scratch-off component, allowing you to multiply your winnings on each ticket.
As part of the rollout, the PA Lottery also introduced a revamped PA Lottery mobile app. While you cannot purchase lottery draw tickets online just yet, you can use the app to play instant games, check winning numbers, and scan your draw tickets to find out if you have a winner.
PA online poker update
Eventually, there are supposed to be eight different PA online poker sites up and running in the state. In all honesty, the likelihood of a sustainable Pennsylvania online poker market with that many operators is slim.
What Pennsylvania poker players can expect is these operators getting up on running once they are ready and vetted by the PGCB:
Do not expect any of them to be ready to go on July 15. Do expect them before the year is over. As for shared liquidity with other states? That is in the pipeline, but so far no PGCB approvals on lumping players in with those in Nevada, NJ, and Delaware.