Online casinos have been live in Pennsylvania for a little over a year. The safe, legal arrival of iGaming in the commonwealth pleased players and added much-needed tax revenue during coronavirus-caused shutdowns.
Slot libraries continue to grow, and currently there are 11 online casinos in PA.
However, there is something that is missing and it’s at the top of nearly every player’s wish list — live dealer games.
What is live dealer?
Golden Nugget was the first to roll out live dealer in New Jersey in 2017. Since then, many more casinos have begun streaming live dealer. The most common games are blackjack, roulette and baccarat.
What’s the difference?
If you play blackjack now at any one of PA’s online casinos, the cards are electronically dealt by a built-in random number generator (RNG).
Live dealer games are transmitted from a remote studio and livestreamed to computers and mobile devices. A dealer, just like if you were at a casino, deals the cards.
Some reasons players prefer live dealer:
- Social interaction
- Slower pace
- More entertaining than playing against RNG
- Trust playing a live dealer more than an RNG
Live dealer tutorial via PlayUSA
When is live dealer coming to PA?
There is no firm date when live dealer will arrive in Pennsylvania, but a number of operators have teased its launch.
Here is the “coming soon” timeline of live dealer in Pennsylvania.
Evolution Gaming signs agreement with Parx to power live dealer casinos in PA and NJ.
Parx players will be able to choose from a range of live dealer table games streamed from Evolution’s existing New Jersey studio and its planned PA studio.
Matt Cullen, senior vice president, interactive gaming and sports at Parx Casino, commented:
“Parx was the first Pennsylvania casino to offer RNG blackjack games online, so extending our online offering to include world-leading Live Casino from Evolution is a natural next step. Our online blackjack player base in particular will love Evolution’s Live blackjack offering, which includes Infinite Blackjack, with no limit on the number of seats available at the table, as well as several other blackjack variants. Overall, we are very confident that all the players types will be very excited by the rollout of Parx Live Casino in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.”
According to a representative from DraftKings Casino, the PA platform will ultimately have 280 games. The rest of the library will roll out in stages and include live dealer games. The rep said:
“While we do not have an exact time frame, all 280 options will follow quickly after launch, including those that feature a live dealer and those that are DraftKings branded.”
Evolution signs deal with PointsBet and says live dealer is coming to PA.
Evolution announced a deal with PointsBet, an Australian bookmaker. While unclear whether PointsBet plans to enter the PA online casino market, what was made clear is that an Evolution live dealer studio is coming to PA by the end of 2020. Currently, Evolution has studios in New Jersey, but it confirmed plans for new studios in Pennsylvania and Michigan.
August 28, 2020:
A press release on Aug. 28, 2020, confirmed a partnership between Evolution Gaming and BetMGM, which plans to debut online betting products in Pennsylvania before the end of the year. The arrangement will see BetMGM become one of the first in PA (and Michigan) to offer Evolution’s suite of live dealer games. BetMGM vice president of gaming Matthew Sunderland said:
“Evolution offers everything we need to enable our brands to roll out an extremely rich, world-class online live gaming experience across the US and their new state launches road map is very much in accord with our own alongside building on our current leadership position in gaming in New Jersey.”
Evolution Gaming Malta CEO Johan Nordstrom said of the partnership:
“We are honored to have been chosen by BetMGM to be partners in the fast-developing US live gaming market … This is a natural extension of our existing relationship with GVC Holdings’ brands.”
Live dealer games subject to lower tax rates
Players are clamoring for live dealer in PA. Obviously, providers and operators want to give them what they want. In addition, live dealer is a table game, so it’s taxed at a lower rate.
Pennsylvania online gambling tax rates:
- Online slots: 54%
- Sports betting: 36%
- Online table games: 16%
Sebastian Johannisson, chief commercial officer at Evolution, commented:
“With table games subject to lower tax, our Live Casino is a very attractive proposition for operators too, as well as its wide appeal to players — both familiar with online and those having played in the bricks and mortar casino — offering a very important and significant contribution to operator revenues.”
Article updated on Aug. 28.