Pennsylvania has had a major impact on shaping this country, including many of the laws that still exist today. When it comes to gambling, the state has had a progressive approach to regulation, and after New Jersey fought to change sports betting laws, Pennsylvania was ready to take action themselves. Let’s look at the gambling laws in Pennsylvania and where the state stands on each available product.
Sports Betting in Pennsylvania
As we mentioned, Pennsylvania’s next-door neighbor New Jersey successfully fought to repeal the law banning sports betting outside of Nevada, taking the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. As a result, states are now able to decide on their own whether or not they want to allow regulated betting. Pennsylvania is one of the early adopters in legal sports betting, having already licensed several operators to open sportsbooks. While it did take a little time to get things rolling, there are now multiple sportsbook locations open in the state.
Online Sports Betting
As with many of the states that have passed sports betting laws, Pennsylvania’s initial bill did not include internet or mobile accessibility. Seeing the massive success of these channels in New Jersey, we imagine it was only a matter of time before we would see this changed in Pennsylvania. In all likelyhoods, the first mobile bets will be taken in the state in 2019. So far, 13 casinos and gambling establishments are licensed to offer sports betting. Not all are created equal however and we have compiled a list of some of the best sportsbooks open to residents of Pennsylvania below.
Some of the names on this list may sound familiar to you, and that is because these are reputable companies that have been advertising in the U.S. for years. All of the online sportsbooks on this list have been given top marks from our expert review team. Our experts research each site thoroughly, looking at the products and bet types available, as well as the bonuses and VIP programs meant to enhance your deposits. Speaking of payments, we also review which sites have the most payment methods available to get your money to and from the site. All told, these sites are the best of the best and you can feel safe making a deposit with any of them.
Horse Betting in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania has a long history of horse racing, and today still have a half-dozen live racing locations in operation. There are three thoroughbred tracks and three harness tracks bringing live horse racing excitement to residents of the state. Of course, hand-in-hand with horse racing is pari-mutuel betting, and there is betting available at all of these facilities, Players can bet not only on the horses running at each individual track, but also the races being simulcast from tracks all over the country.
Online Horse Betting
Even though there have been sports betting legislation passed in the state, there is still no law allowing the local horse racing operators to offer online pari-mutuel bets. Instead, gamblers must turn to sites that are based in the U.S. but are licensed in the state of Oregon. These sites include Xpressbet and Twinspires, and each of the sites allows a player to make an account, place bets on races from all over the U.S. and watch the races via live stream directly on the website.
Casino Gambling in Pennsylvania
One of the reasons that there are still so many racetracks in operation in Pennsylvania is that the government allowed each operator to add casino games to their facilities. The horse racing business was dying before this measure was taken, and now each of the tracks has slots and table games to keep traffic coming in and to prop up the horse racing operations. Aside from the racetracks with casino games, there are also six casino-only resorts that are spread out around the state.
Online Casinos in Pennsylvania
In 2017, a law was passed that would allow for online casino and poker operations in the state. This is a huge move forward in the advancement of iGaming in the United States, and once again Pennsylvania was following the lead of New Jersey who had passed similar laws. The licensing process was not cheap – 10 Million for anyone wanting to apply for a full-scale license. However, the state did receive many applications, and as a result, there will be multiple online casinos opening their doors in the coming months.
The casino review team at Betting News will explore each of the legal online casinos to find the best websites for Pennsylvania residents.
One of the biggest factors that go into our online casino ratings is the mobile compatibility of the platform. For now, these sites are not allowed to have native apps available for download, which means that they are reliant on browser-based games. We test all the games on multiple mobile devices to ensure the quality is of the highest standard, then we find the sites with the best promotions, so you have even more reason to pull out your phone or tablet to play.
Other factors in our evaluation include the number of slots and table games offered as well as Live Dealer options and of course the welcome bonus proposed by these online casinos.
Lottery in Pennsylvania
The state has a very successful lottery, where players can take a shot at one of the daily draw games, or look for even bigger prizes by playing one of the pooled games such as Powerball. There is also a full suite of instant games and scratch tickets available. All the proceeds from the Pennsylvania Lottery go back into the state coffers to pay for educational and social programs benefitting all residents of the state.
Pennsylvania Gambling FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Pennsylvania?
Yes! Sports betting is now officially legal in Pennsylvania, and as of late 2018, there are a handful of operators that have already opened their doors for business. These are land-based sportsbooks so you will have to travel to one of the facilities for the time being if you want to make a legal sports bet in the state.
When will online sports betting be legal in Pennsylvania?
The Pennsylvania government amended the sports betting law to allow for online betting early in 2019, given the success of these betting options in New Jersey. Pennsylvania residents will be able to gamble online before the end of the year and we recommend that you bet with the online sportsbooks that we recommend on this page.
What is the best online sportsbook for residents of Pennsylvania?
First and foremost, you want to find a site that makes you feel comfortable when you are making your deposits and withdrawals and one that offers a great level of Customer Service. This is the biggest concern that most players voice when looking for sportsbooks with which to play. Also, you want to find a sportsbook that has promotions tailored to your local market (maybe more offers around Philadephia or Pittsburgh teams for example) as that shows a commitment from the sportsbook to think on a more regional scale. The perfect sportsbook is different for each individual, so take the time to research yourself using our recommended list as a guide.