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Since the 1950s, Pennsylvania has offered some form of gambling for visitors and residents. The state started with horse race betting in 1959 and moved on to lottery gaming with the passage of the Lottery Act allowing for lottery betting. The early 80s brought bingo to the state, followed by slot machines in racetracks by 2004. In 2010, Pennsylvania legalized casino table games - and venues could offer a complete casino experience.

2017 Bill Regulating Online Casino Gambling

In 2017, lawmakers finally decided to move ahead with a vast expansion in the industry. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed bill HB 271 into law, which effectively legalized online casino gaming, truck stop terminals, and satellite casino venues - making the birthplace of democracy the fourth US state to allow gambling and betting on the internet, joining New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada. 

However, it was not until 2019 that casinos launched in the Keystone State.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) oversees licensing and regulation of the industry. Operators can offer online casino games, sports betting, poker, daily fantasy sports, and online lottery gaming.

The PGCB licenses casino facilities, game manufacturers, gaming service providers, and suppliers. Owners, officers, directors, general managers, department heads, and other positions must be licensed to work in the gaming industry.

Many positions require a gaming employee permit that individuals must have to work in a particular area of the industry. This can include cage cashiers, dealers, auditors, security guards, slot hosts, and technicians.

Online casino operators must have the appropriate licensing in place to offer services in the state. This includes partnering with a land-based venue to launch an online site or app.

License Compliance Requirements

Each operator must:

  • Pay the licensing fee and renew the fee with the state and provide annual taxes
  • Online operators pay 54% for slot game revenues and a much lower 14% on table games.
  • An interactive gaming license will range from $4 million to $10 million with a renewal fee of $250,000 every five years.
  • Online sports betting operators pay a separate fee of $10 million for licensing with a $250,000 renewal fee every five years.
  • Online operators must adhere to industry standards and offer gamers a safe and secure environment. Each site must offer self-exclusion options so players can take a break if needed and multiple support options for responsible gambling.
  • Operators should offer fair and secure games that third-party tests for fairness. Minors are not to be given access to services, and verification checks are necessary for player security and safety.
  • Players must be physically located in Pennsylvania to participate and meet the 21-year age limit. Operators use geolocation services to detect your location and verification processes to ensure you meet the age requirements.

Regulated Casinos, Sportsbooks and Poker Rooms 

As of 2023, 16 online casinos are operating in Pennsylvania. Big names offer services in the state, including BetMGM, Caesars, DraftKings, Borgata, and BetRivers. The Tropicana recently joined the fray, launching in the Keystone State in 2023. The platform is offered via desktop and mobile on iOS and Android devices.

Tropicana's new online casino app offers a quality experience with classic and modern games, including roulette, live dealer, video poker, and more. Players can utilize Caesars Rewards with options for in-person experiences at Harrah’s Philadelphia. The site's launch occurred shortly after the brand relaunched in New Jersey.

Each online casino operating in Pennsylvania offers a solid platform with award-winning gaming, helpful customer support, and secure banking methods.

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