PA Online Gambling Sites 2019

PA online sports betting is blossoming into a full-blown industry.

After Pennsylvania kicked things off with its May 2019 launch, two more real-money betting apps followed suit in June. With Parx Sportsbook and BetRivers Sportsbook up and running as well, PA bettors now have three options to choose from.

PA online sports betting

A casino can offer online wagering as part of its $10 million sports betting license. Unlike online casino, the license is limited to a single skin that must prominently feature the name of the licensee.

There is no deadline for casinos to apply for the sports betting licenses, it is a rolling enrollment plan.

So far, nine of the 13  PA casinos have applied for the license so far. Another two, Wind Creek and the Stadium Casino project, say they plan to offer sports betting eventually as well.

The casinos approved or conditionally approved to offer sports betting are:

Here is a look at who they are partnering with and when they should launch:

CasinoPGCB Approval DateRetail Sportsbook LaunchOnline Sportsbook Launch
Hollywood Casino at Penn NationalOct. 3Nov. 17, 2018Summer 2019
Parx Casino SportsbookOct. 3Jan. 10, 2019Launched June 27
South Philadelphia Turf ClubOct. 3Jan. 17, 2019N/A
Rivers CasinoOct. 31Dec. 15, 2018Launched June 27
SugarHouse CasinoOct. 31Dec. 15, 2018Launched May 31
Harrah's PhiladelphiaOct. 31Jan. 24, 2019Summer 2019
Valley Forge CasinoDec. 19March 13, 2019Summer 2019
Valley Forge Turf ClubMarch 6March 14, 2019N/A
Presque Isle Downs CasinoFeb. 6Summer 20192019
Mount AiryJune 12N/AN/A
Mohegan Sun PoconoMay 15Fall 2019N/A

Many of these online sports betting offerings will eventually be tied to a PA online casino site. For example, Harrah’s will likely roll everything into its single Caesars Online Casino product. PlaySugarHouse offers a combination site in New Jersey already, so expect it to offer a shared account between casino and sports betting as well.

The lone exception is if you are an iPhone user. Changes to the Apple app store guidelines make these shared apps difficult, so you might see a sports betting app before you get a real-money online casino app in the lineup. And there is a chance they will remain separate,

Finally, expect some big names aside from the casinos themselves to get involved. Valley Forge will be working with fantasy sports giant turned sportsbook operator FanDuel. William Hill helps operate Hollywood Casino’s sports betting product. And now Fox Sports will have an online sportsbook from Mount Airy.

PA online casinos coming online July 15

Sports betting apps will roll out over the next several months. However, online casinos aresupposed have one giant rollout on July 15.

However, as we near closer to that date, the likelihood the vast majority of PA casinos with interactive licenses to be ready to go by then are increasingly slim. In fact, it is up for debate if any will have their ducks in a row in time.

Nonetheless, here is a look at which casinos applied for online casinos, who their partners are, and when they plan to launch:

CasinoOnline partnersInteractive application status
Harrah's888Conditionally approved
Hollywood (Penn National)N/AConditionally approved
Mount Airy888 / PokerStarsConditionally approved
ParxGANConditionally approved
Sands BethlehemN/AConditionally approved
SugarHouseRush Street Interactive / KambiConditionally approved
Valley ForgeIGT / GANConditionally approved
Stadium Park Philly Live! CasinoN/AConditionally approved
Presque Isle DownsGolden NuggetConditionally approved
Mohegan Sun PoconoKindredConditionally approved
MGM Resortsbwin.partyApplication pending
Golden Nugget NJNYXApplication pending

And here is a look at the casinos that applied for online poker and where they are in the process:

CasinoExisting online partnersPotential or speculated partner Application status
Harrah's888N/AConditionally approved
Hollywood CasinoN/AIGTConditionally approved
Mount Airy888 / PokerStarsN/AConditionally approved
ParxGANN/AConditionally approved
Sands BethlehemN/AN/AConditionally approved
SugarHouse CasinoRush Street Interactive / KambiN/AConditionally approved
Valley ForgeIGT / GANpartypoker / GVCConditionally approved
MGM Resortsbwin.partypartypoker / GVCApplication pending

Potential PA online casinos

According to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), there are 10 stand-alone and racetrack casinos and two smaller resort casinos operating inside the state. Plus, a 13th casino is coming, with a license having already been granted to a group building a casino and hotel in the South Philadelphia Sports Complex area, home of Philadelphia’s professional sports teams.

These PA casino operations could apply for online gambling operator licenses in the state beginning April 16, 2018. The properties had until July 16 to turn in applications for a $10 million comprehensive interactive gaming license. With this license, casinos can offer online poker, online slots, and online table games.

There were nine casinos which applied:

  • Harrah’s Philadelphia
  • Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course
  • Mount Airy Casino Resort
  • Parx Casino
  • Rivers Casino Pittsburgh
  • Wind Creek (formerly Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem)
  • SugarHouse Casino (soon to be Rivers Philadelphia)
  • Valley Forge Resort Casino
  • Stadium Casino (under development)

After applying, Rivers Casino eventually rescinded its application, electing to punt on online gambling. Stadium Casino did something similar, opting to forgo an online poker license.

Meanwhile, both Presque Isle Downs and Mohegan Sun Pocono applied for a la carte licenses. Presque Isle opted to skip poker. Mohegan surprisingly signed up for all three at a cost of $2 million more than its competitors. However, like Rivers and  Stadium, it too abandoned its online poker plans.

That left 12 unclaimed interactive licenses. PGCB opened up a process for qualified gambling entities (QGE) from outside of Pennsylvania to claim them.

Only two groups applied. MGM Resorts is seeking all three categories of license. Golden Nugget Atlantic City wants table games and slots, but no online poker.

Now, should PGCB approve those two companies, the state will have two very big competitors contending with the land-based casinos in the Pennsylvania online casino market.

Potential PA online poker sites

Today, 10 of 12 Pennsylvania casinos have poker rooms. Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin and Valley Forge Casino Resort are the only casinos in the state that do not have poker rooms.

There are more than 220 live poker tables operating across the state with the 10 rooms pulling in an average of $4 million in revenue every Pennsylvania Parx

Plans for Stadium Casino in the South Philadelphia Sports Complex area include opening a poker room when the facility opens its doors in 2020.

Currently, only seven plan to offer an online poker counterpart though. The casinos that will launch an online poker room in Pennsylvania are (MGM is applying as an out-of-state entity):

  • Harrah’s Philadelphia
  • Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course
  • Mount Airy Casino Resort
  • Parx Casino
  • Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem
  • SugarHouse Casino
  • Valley Forge Resort Casino
  • MGM Resorts (pending QGE approval)

More about PA’s legal online gambling industry

Online poker, online casino table games, and slots became legal in Pennsylvania as a part of a comprehensive gambling expansion package passed by state legislators in October 2017.

The PGCB is providing regulatory oversight for the local online gambling industry. Casinos could get all three types of interactive gaming licenses at once for a $10 million licensing fee. The cost was $4 million each individually for slots, table games, and peer-to-peer games like poker.

There is no limit on the number of skins, or alternatively branded online gambling operations, that can operate under each licensee. However, regulations designed by the board stipulate branding for the skins must clearly identify the licensee. Plus, players can only create one account per licensee, not per skin.

PA online gambling site safety

PGCB will regulate all online gaming sites in the state. This is the same branch of the state government that regulates all land-based PA casinos.

Other important points regarding PA online gambling security

The regulations designed by PGCB will  include several security measures specifically designed to:

  • Ensure player balances are held in a separate account from operating funds
  • Force sites to implement a rigorous player verification process
  • Prevents minors from gaining access
  • Deal with problem gamblers
  • Force sites to implement geolocation software making sure all players are within the state
  • All deposits and withdrawals are processed securely

Online gambling in other states

Pennsylvania passed online gambling legislation in October 2018. Before them, just three states, Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey, had passed similar legislation. All three states saw legal and regulated online gambling markets open in in 2013.

New Jersey and Delaware both give players the chance to play various online casino games and online poker. It’s online poker only in Nevada.

New Jersey online gambling has been a great success. Online gambling sites in the Garden State set revenue records in 2016 pulling in $196.6 million. It helped the state’s fledgling casino industry turn around a decade of declines. Last year, New Jersey online gambling posted even bigger numbers, setting a new record for revenue at $245.6 million.

Nevada and Delaware

Nevada hosts just two online poker operators, and Real Gaming. Real Gaming is struggling to stay afloat and the while the market for grows when the World Series of Poker comes to Las Vegas in June and July, the rest of the year it remains rather poker PA NV

In Delaware, online gambling run by the Delaware State Lottery in partnership with 888 Holdings. The three licensed racinos in the state are Delaware Park, Dover Downs, and Harrington Raceway and Casino, all offer online casino games and poker.

However, the online gambling market and the state are tiny.

That said, online poker in Delaware and Nevada got a boost when New Jersey signed on to an interstate agreement in October 2017 to share player pools between all three states.

The first tri-state shared liquidity games launched May 1, 2018, and all three states immediately became part of the biggest regulated poker network in the US.

Pennsylvania’s new online gambling law

Pennsylvania became the fourth state to legalize online gambling when lawmakers passed a comprehensive gambling expansion package in October 2017. Gov. Tom Wolf signed the bill into law by immediately.

The new laws also regulate daily fantasy sports. They authorize the sale of PA online lottery tickets. Plus, they provide for the regulation of sports betting now that the Supreme Court ruled the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was unconstitutional.

Essentially, Pennsylvania law now allows for the state’s 13 existing casino licensees to acquire licenses to operate three forms of online gambling:

  • Poker
  • Slots
  • Table games

These ventures are each heavily taxed. Online slots are taxed at a rate of 54 percent. Table games and poker are at a much less steep rate of 16 percent.

Even sports betting features some of the highest taxes in the world for the industry at 34 percent.

Online casino games versus online poker

In New Jersey, the only online gambling market of comparable size to what PA’s expects to be, online gambling has generated some big revenue numbers. However, online poker has only helped create about 10 percent of them.

Online slots are also generating about 70 percent of online casino revenues, meaning just 30 percent are coming from table games. Like most live casinos, online casinos in NJ offer more slots than anything else, which could be a factor.

Based on where the money is coming from in New Jersey, one should expect online gambling operations in Pennsylvania to follow suit. Therefore, they will be more focused on slots than anything else. Even if the tax rates on online slots are significantly higher.

Ongoing challenges facing PA online casino operators

It’s not easy to run an online gambling operation. PA online casino operators will face a number of ongoing challenges as they launch. In other states that have legalized and regulated online gambling these challenges and issues have included:

  • Geolocation software
  • Underage gambling
  • Fraud and duplicate accounts
  • Credit cards deposit denials
  • Word-of-mouth marketing and new player attraction
  • Keeping offshore operators at bay

Tight regulation

PA will need to implement tight regulations in order for online gambling to succeed. They’ll need to impose a minimum age requirement of 21 and force sites to enforce it. Sites must also ensure players are physically located in the state when playing. Geolocation software can prove tricky in this regard and needs to be continually tested and improved.

A tight security system is paramount. Plus, it must be one that works for the benefit of the casinos and players.

The sites have to verify age and identity. PIN numbers and other security measures must be required.

Penalties must be created for violators and they must be enforced rigorously.

Account funding

It might go without saying, but account funding shouldn’t be a hassle. In fact, if impatient gamblers run into issues making deposits and withdrawals they’ll give up before long. If the problems persist, the list of those gamblers will grow exponentially.

Payment processing problems still occur in New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware, particularly when it comes to Credit Card transactions. Credit card companies and banks have appeared to be slow in accepting that legal online gambling is here.

Regardless, PA needs to make an effort to change that and lower refusal rates.

Getting the word out

Online gambling sites need players. However, a lot of people in New Jersey are still unaware they can gamble online. If PA wants the kind of success they have in New Jersey, the industry will need to market itself. They’ve got to get the word out to more potential players.

However, that means marketing and advertising is a must. Additionally, increased cross-promotions with land-based casinos can help.