Legal online poker in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is the fourth US state to legalize online poker.
Both the Senate and House passed a bill to regulate not only online poker, but also online table games and online slots, as well as daily fantasy sports and sports betting (if PASPA is repealed).
That bill, H 271, was signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf on Oct. 30, 2017.
It's officially official everyone. Everyone can exhale https://t.co/LUDKlBuzbk
— Steve Ruddock (@SteveRuddock) October 30, 2017
The bill also includes a number of other gambling expansions, including:
- Online lottery
- Tablet gaming in authorized areas of qualified airports
- Video gambling terminals (VGTs) at authorized truck stops
- 10 satellite casinos
- Allows for changes to Category 3 licenses (removal of membership fee, allowance of more slots)
The legal PA online poker and casino market is expected to go live in 2018.
Latest Pennsylvania online gambling updates
Pennsylvania online poker FAQ
Why would Pennsylvania want to regulate online poker and casino games?
Pennsylvania is the second largest casino state behind Nevada, boasting 12 land-based casinos. It is trying to remain competitive in what has become a saturated marketplace.
Additionally, in 2017 Pennsylvania grappled with a more than $2 billion budget deficit. As the legislature sought ways to fund the budget without raising taxes, online gambling regulation looked more likely. PA lawmakers earmarked more than $200 million in revenue from regulated online gambling, along with the other gaming expansion included in H 271.
What are the particulars of H 271?
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 age for daily fantasy sports is 18.
Although players will not have to hold residence in the Keystone State, they must be in PA to play for real money.
The licensing fee to participate in online gambling is segmented into three separate licenses:
- Online slots
- Online poker and other peer-to-peer games
- House-banked games
Existing PA operators have 90 days during which they can purchase all three licenses for $10 million. Each individual license carries a cost of $4 million.
After 120 days, entities from outside of Pennsylvania would be permitted to apply for licenses, at the same $4 million per license price.
Will Pennsylvania also allow online casino games?
Yes, H 271 permits online slots and online table games in PA.
Will Pennsylvania network poker with other states?
Yes, H 271 allows for interstate player pools.
How long will it take for online poker to go live in Pennsylvania?
A safe assumption is between nine and twelve months after the bill passes into law. We expect the market to go live in the second half of 2018.
Will 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 will Pennsylvania sites ensure players are physically 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 verified as being within the state will not be able to access real money games.