Online casino games coming to Pennsylvania
On Oct. 30, 2018, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law a gambling expansion package that will legalize and regulate online casino games, as well as daily fantasy sports and potentially sports betting.
The license application process is already underway, and there is speculation that the first online casino will launch in Pennsylvania in late 2018.
The new legislation legalizes a diverse range of online gaming activity, including:
- Online casinos
- Online poker
- Video gambling terminals (VGTs)
- Daily fantasy sports (DFS)
- Satellite casinos
- Sports betting (dependent on the Supreme Court ruling)
Previewing the Pennsylvania online casino market
Casinos first became legal in Pennsylvania in 2004. Today, Pennsylvania boasts the sixth largest population in the U.S., and it generates more gaming tax revenue for the state than Nevada.
The gambling industry is heavily taxed in Pennsylvania which means a casino must consider its impact before it enters the online casino market. Even so, most, if not all of the land-based casinos are expected to join the online gaming market.
Pennsylvania online casinos are estimated to earn approximately $154 million in revenue during Year 1. The projection is consistent with New Jersey’s online casino performance.
Evidence suggests the revenue will come from new customers, not necessarily existing ones, as online casinos have a far greater reach.
Potential Pennsylvania casino partnerships
In anticipation of legalized online gambling, land-based casinos several years ago began forging partnerships with software platforms and online casinos operating in New Jersey.
The application process is still ongoing, and no online casino licenses have been awarded at this time. Even so, here is a preview of potential online casino partnerships.
As part of Caesars Entertainment, Harrah’s operates as WSOP.com in a partnership with 888. It is the only company currently offering online gambling products in both Nevada and New Jersey.
Mohegan Sun Pocono
The tribal operator manages the operations of Resorts Casino in Atlantic City. Resorts online casino teamed up with software provider NYX to offer a suite of online casino games. Additionally, PokerStars operates under Resorts’ license in New Jersey. Of note: Scientific Games acquired NYX in January 2018.
Mount Airy Casino
Mount Airy Casino signed a deal with 888 in 2015.
Even though Parx had some reservations about online gaming, they signed a multi-year agreement with software provider GAN back in 2014. Parx is already building a potential customer base with a social casino using GAN’s software.
Rivers and Sugarhouse
Rivers in Pittsburgh and SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia are both owned by Rush Street Gaming. PlaySugarHouse.com operates under Golden Nugget’s online casino license in New Jersey. There is some speculation that Rush Street is eyeing NYX/Scientific Games for its Pennsylvania online casino.
Pennsylvania online casino FAQ
How old does a player need to be to gamble online in Pennsylvania?
Players must be 21 years of age or older to play online casino games or online poker in Pennsylvania. Fantasy sports enthusiasts must be 18 to participate in daily fantasy sports contests.
Do players need to live in Pennsylvania to play online casino games?
Players do not need to be a resident of Pennsylvania to play online casino games or online poker. However, players must physically be located in the state to participate.
When will online casino games go live in Pennsylvania?
There is speculation the first online casino will go live toward the end of 2018. The application for online casino licenses is currently underway, and there are no firm dates at this time.
How will online casinos know if a player is in Pennsylvania?
Regulated online casino sites use geolocation services to determine a player’s location. A player whose location cannot be verified will not be able to access online casino games.