Pennsylvania Online Poker
Pennsylvania offers one form of legalized gambling. Online horse racing wagers are accepted in Pennsylvania. While there is only one form of online gambling in the state, there are several forms of brick and mortar forms of gambling. Pennsylvania offers live horse racing, racinos, a state lottery, casinos and bingo. Pennsylvania passed New Jersey as the second highest grossing casino state in terms of gambling revenue.
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Path to legal online poker in Pennsylvania
Live casinos were legalized in Pennsylvania on December 20, 2006. At first, only slots and video poker were permitted. The original venues were horseracing facilities. On July 1, 2010, table games were added to the list of acceptable games in Pennsylvania casinos. This included live poker.
There are 12 casinos in Pennsylvania. These are scattered throughout the state. Many are located at racetracks, but some recent additions were built solely as casino resorts or added to existing hotels.
State Representative John Payne (R-106) has emerged as online poker’s largest supporter in Pennsylvania. He has sponsored HB 649. The bill would legalize and regulate online poker and casino games in Pennsylvania. The state’s existing casinos would function as the branding behind the games. The software could be supplied by experienced third party vendors that already operate across the globe.
Players would need to be 21 years of age or older to play online poker and casino games in Pennsylvania. That is the same age as brick-and-mortar casinos in the state.
The licensing fee would be $5 million for casinos and $1 million for service providers. The tax rate would be 14 percent.
HB 649 would allow Pennsylvania to network with player pools in other states. One example of this is the current liquidity sharing agreement operating between Nevada and Delaware. If HB 649 passes, online poker players in Pennsylvania could theoretically connect to this network, assuming all states agree.
Pennsylvania Online Poker FAQ
Why is Pennsylvania considering online poker and casino games?
Pennsylvania is the second largest casino state behind Nevada. It is trying to remain competitive. Pennsylvania also wants to tax an activity that already occurs illegally between offshore sites and its residents. HB 649 would also create jobs in the state.
What are the chances that an online poker bill in Pennsylvania passes?
Pennsylvania is the most likely state to legalize and regulate online poker in 2015. It is still a bit of a long shot, but its chances are far better than zero, like they are in most other states.
Would Pennsylvania also pass online casino games?
HB 649 would legalize online casino games, as well as poker. A competing proposal – HB 695 – would only legalize poker.
Would Pennsylvania network poker with other states?
Yes, the current proposals would allow for interstate player pools.
How long would it take for online poker to go live in Pennsylvania if it passes?
It would take about one year for online poker to go live if Pennsylvania passes HB 649 into law.
Would players outside Pennsylvania be able to play at state sites?
Only players located in states with an interstate online poker agreement would be able to access Pennsylvania sites.
How would Pennsylvania sites ensure players are located in the state?
Regulated poker sites use geolocation services to determine whether a player is in the jurisdiction. This includes combining the location of a player’s cell phone, his connection to the Internet, and the location of nearby wireless network signals. A player that cannot be located within the state will not be able to access real money games.