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.

Make It 10: Wind Creek Online Casino Joins Crowded PA iGaming Market

The Wind Creek online casino launched in PA to little fanfare but with an impressive sampling of games, becoming the 10th iGaming operator in the state.

And then there were 10.

Late last month, Wind Creek Bethlehem opened its online casino, making it the 10th online casino to launch in the state of Pennsylvania.

The latest development continues a busy summer for Wind Creek and its efforts to expand its gambling footprint.

In June, the Pennsylvania Gaming and Control Board approved Wind Creek’s petition to offer both a retail sportsbook location and a mobile app powered in part by BetFred, a UK-based bookmaker. The retail sportsbook is scheduled to open in November. The online app should launch before then, but a date has yet to be announced.

Wind Creek online casino is live, with lots of options

Players at the new Wind Creek online casino have plenty of gaming options. The site features more than 75 slot games, along with blackjack, roulette and video poker.

In addition, the site is offering a 100% match on a first deposit bonus up to $400.

Internet players can visit the Wind Creek online casino via web browser. And mobile users can download the casino’s app via the Amazon App Store or the Google Play store. It’s currently only available for Android.

Pala Interactive powers Wind Creek’s online casino.

Online casino players can get started in four simple steps

To play at Wind Creek’s online casino, simply visit the site and click on “Register” to begin. Users with an existing Wind Creek Player’s Card can enter either their account number and PIN or an email address and password.

New users should begin by entering the code to take advantage of the current promotion. Then you’ll need to enter an email address and a created password.

A few steps later, you’ll be live in the online casino, perhaps with a little extra money thanks to the bonus.

Wind Creek continues its transformation of Bethlehem Sands

The online casino and the upcoming retail and mobile sportsbooks further the revitalization efforts Wind Creek has undertaken since purchasing what used to be the Bethlehem Sands casino.

Wind Creek Hospitality (an affiliate of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians of Alabama) took over Bethlehem Sands in 2019. The group has ambitious plans to continue developing the casino, its surrounding property and its affiliated products in the coming years. Bethlehem’s proximity to highly populated areas in New York and New Jersey is a tremendous asset.

Wind Creek’s latest effort, the online casino, carried a $10 million licensing fee. Nine other online casinos have already paid that bill, betting on the viability of casino gaming from home. Included in Wind Creek’s licensing is room for online poker, should it choose to exercise the option.

Now, players have a 10th iGaming option courtesy of Wind Creek.

Its online casino doors are open.

And you’re more than welcome to walk in.