The Wait Is Over: Where to Play Live Dealer Tables Games Online in Pennsylvania

The long wait for live dealer games at PA online casinos is over. Find out what took so long, what games you will find and where you can play them.

And just like that, after months of waiting, Evolution Gaming began its test run this week of the first live dealer options in Pennsylvania.

The company, which also operates in New Jersey, where it has at least seven affiliations, has had a conditional PA license since this past January. And it began the process more than a year ago.

The two-day test period for Evolution’s live dealer games ended at 9 p.m. Oct. 22. Following the soft launch, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) approved it for full-time operation.

Where to play Evolution live dealer games in PA

In PA, Evolution has partnership deals with several online casino operators. The first four casinos to launch came from Rush Street Interactive and Penn National.

Caesars and Parx are also expected to offer live dealer options soon.

Live dealer games on offer at PA online casinos

Evolution launched live dealer variations of blackjack and roulette, with more games to come. As of now, you can find:

  • Roulette Live
  • Blackjack Live
  • Infinite Blackjack Live
  • First Person Blackjack
  • First Person Roulette and Lightning Roulette

Also on the way to PA are:

  • Baccarat Live
  • Three Card Poker Live
  • Ultimate Texas Hold’em Live

Live dealer games follow approved rules, side wagers and payout tables, such as those found in a land-based casino.

Appeal of live dealer games

The live games’ appeal is the chance for social interaction, from the comfort of home and with social distancing.

Dealers are playing with real cards from a studio in Philly, while players make decisions from home. So in essence, the live dealer takes the convenience of gaming from home and adds the ability to play table games dealt by real-life dealers.

The long delay since licensing for Evolution

While the game is the same, the remote studio’s approval process was time-consuming, explaining the long lag time.

And while the company was established in New Jersey, it needed a PA studio and a secure server in the Keystone State.

As PGCB Director of Communications Doug Harbach told our sister publication, PlayPennsylvania:

“Testing and regulating live dealer studio games is similar to other online casino games from a technology standpoint and is actually similar in many aspects to table games in land-based casinos, except there is no cash or gaming chips and, of course, players are not physically present.

“Since there is a human element in this online gaming, the PGCB must license studio staff who operate the games as we would dealers in a land-based casino. Also, similar to table games setups at land-based casinos, we have to ensure adequate security and surveillance in the studio that allows us to monitor the live dealer and helps us ensure the operator conducts table game operations in accordance with PGCB regulations.”

Evolution Gaming expansion to PA

Evolution Gaming already had eight studios globally and more than 8,000 employees. The company trades on the Stockholm NASDAQ.

As a recruiting incentive, the company tells potential roulette employees they can earn tokens from an unlimited number of gamblers.

In NJ, Evolution offers slingshot roulette, baccarat, three card poker and ultimate Texas hold ’em poker. And it has the potential to offer even more games, according to its website.

James Stern, Evolution’s chief business development officer, said last year of the company’s expansion to PA:

“Demand for our Live Casino services in the US has been phenomenal. We are delighted to be further expanding our US operations by opening a stand-alone studio in Pennsylvania to serve both online operators and land-based casinos in the state.

“We continue to stay at the forefront, maximizing the opportunities in this exciting new market and growing together with our licensees.”

What Are Live Dealer Games, and When Are They Coming to PA Online Casinos?

Live dealer games bring social interaction elements of the live casino to online gaming, but when will players in PA have the option?

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?

Live dealer games give you the chance to play casino table games, like blackjack, at home in real time with a 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.

January 2020:

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.”

May 2020:

DraftKings launches its online casino.

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.”

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August 2020:

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.

DraftKings Casino App in PA ‘Designed With the iGaming Player in Mind’

DraftKings recently debuted a stand-alone online casino app in PA that caters to iGaming players with unique themed table games, and Live Dealer is coming soon.

DraftKings expanded its realm by launching a mobile casino app in Pennsylvania. Users can link accounts across DFS, sports betting and casino sites and have a shared wallet.

And now, the DraftKings stand-alone casino app is available on iOS.  However, it’s not available for Android.

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DraftKings Casino designed with ‘iGaming player in mind’

DraftKings online sportsbook operates in Pennsylvania through a partnership with The Meadows. The Meadows did not apply for an online casino license, so the DraftKings iGaming platform operates under Hollywood Casino’s license.

A DraftKings spokesperson explained to Play Pennsylvania the reasoning behind the stand-alone casino app:

“While our Sportsbook app caters to sports bettors, the DraftKings Casino stand-alone app is a more wholesome product designed with the iGaming player in mind. Irrespective of the annual sports calendar, DraftKings Casino leverages our unique, in-house technology and games to offer a best-in-market gaming experience.

“The new app allows us to focus on our strengths, including our dedicated DraftKings Live Dealer studio and best-in-class DraftKings-built game suite, and highlight market-leading promotions like our monthly $250K leaderboards.”

How to download

How to download the DraftKings Casino app in Pennsylvania:

  • Go to the App Store.
  • Type “DraftKings casino” in the search bar.
  • FYI, it will appear as “DraftKings Casino NJ,” but it’s the one for PA players too. Click “Get,” then “Install.”
  • Allow DraftKings Casino to use your location (allow while using app).

DraftKings Casino games

The DraftKings Casino app in Pennsylvania has 17 table games, Game King Poker and 30 slot titles.

The biggest difference from other online casinos in PA is that DraftKings has branded and themed table games like:

  • DraftKings Blackjack
  • Classic Blackjack
  • Single Hand Blackjack
  • Pride Blackjack
  • Christmas Blackjack
  • Retro Blackjack
  • Baseball, Basketball, Soccer, Football and Hockey Blackjack
  • Lunar New Year Blackjack
  • DraftKings American Roulette
  • European Roulette
  • Basketball Roulette

For min and max bets:

  • Blackjack: Minimum bet $1.00, maximum bet $5,000

Baccarat: Minimum bet $1.00, maximum bet $10,000

Game King Poker: Minimum bet $0.20, maximum bet $200

“The response in Pennsylvania has been exciting,” said a DraftKings spokesperson. “Our players have clearly been waiting for DraftKings to launch our trusted gaming experience in the state, proving demand for something different in the market. So far, the most popular games have been DraftKings Blackjack and Roulette; land-based slot titles such as Cleopatra and Wheel of Fortune always prove popular.”

Live Dealer coming to PA

As of late July, no online casino in Pennsylvania offered Live Dealer. Live Dealer is a popular online casino feature that allows users to play games like blackjack in real time, with a real dealer, from home.

A press release from DraftKings announcing the app said that customers in PA “will soon have access to the custom DraftKings Live Dealer Studio which will operate 24/7.”

When asked in mid-July about a possible time frame for the arrival of Live Dealer, a DraftKings spokesperson said they expect it to be made available within the next few months.