PA Online Casinos

PA Online Casinos

PA online casinos took a huge step forward in mid-July when nine of Pennsylvania’s thirteen casinos applied for a comprehensive online gambling license that covers online poker as well as online table games and slots. The wave of license submissions was followed up by an additional two casinos applied in mid-August.

Given the $10 million price tag for the license, many PA casinos are signaling a strong commitment to being part of the burgeoning online gambling landscape in Pennsylvania.

List of PA Online Casinos

Last Updated: December 1, 2018

Below is where each of the 13 PA casinos stand in bringing online gambling — as well as sportsbetting — to the state.

CasinoOnline Gambling StatusOnline Gaming ProductsSportsbetting
Parx CasinoApproved August 15th, Launch TBAOnline poker, table games, slotsApproved October 3rd, Launch likely in November 2018 (Parx, Philly Turf Club)
Mount AiryApproved August 15th, Launch TBAOnline poker, table games, slots
Stadium CasinoApproved October 31st, rescinded online poker applicationtable games, slots
Sands BethlehemApproved October 3rd, Launch TBAOnline poker, table games, slots
SugarHouseApproved Mid-September, Launch TBAOnline poker, table games, slotsApproved October 31st
Rivers CasinoRescinded application October 4thN/AApproved October 31st
Harrah's PhiladelphiaApproved August 15th, Launch TBAOnline poker, table games, slotsApproved October 31st
Valley Forge CasinoApproved October 3rd, Launch TBAOnline poker, table games, slotsApplied November 15th
Hollywood Casino at Penn NationalApproved Mid-September, Launch TBAOnline poker, table games, slotsLAUNCHED - November 17th, 2018
The Meadows CasinoNot AppliedN/A
Mohegan Sun PoconoApproved November 28th, launch TBA online table games, slots
Presque Isle Downs and CasinoApproved October 31st, Launch TBAOnline table games, online slots
Lady Luck CasinoNot AppliedN/A
MGMApplied late October, 2018 as a "qualified gaming entity"online poker, table games, slots
Golden NuggetApplied late October, 2018 as a "qualified gaming entity"table games, slots

The original nine casinos that submitted applications each applied for $10 million licenses that cover a suite of online gambling products: poker, table games and slots. The original deadline to apply for these licenses was July 16th.

The remaining PA casinos had until August 14th to apply for licenses at a price of $4 million for individual product licenses (poker, table games, and slots). Now that both deadlines have came and went, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has decided to open up additional applications to outside “qualified gaming entities (QGE)” for the remaining seven licenses.

Which will be the best PA Online Casinos?

It’s probably a bit premature to crown winners in the PA online gambling market just yet, but there are certainly PA casinos that seem to have a leg up on the competition, either by sheer size in the state or by relationships that have been established with software providers.

The frontrunners

Three PA casinos were approved to offer online gambling when the PGCB board met in mid-August, representing the first online gambling licenses in the state to be approved. Among the casinos that have applied for full licenses, Pennsylvania’s largest casino, Parx, is a solid pick to jump ahead of the pack. As the number one casino in Pennsylvania by slot revenue, there is no reason to think that Parx can’t continue to maintain their dominance in Pennsylvania’s online gambling market.

Parx Casino – The biggest casino in PA is on track to be one of the first online casinos to go live in PA. Thanks to a long-standing online partnership with software provider GAN, Parx may win by being one of the first and most prepared casinos, aided by the fact they are also one the most recognizable brands in the state. On top of this fact, Parx has an established relationship with software provider GAN, who currently provides the software for the play money online casino and mobile app.

Caesars Entertainment, the parent company of Harrah’s Philadelphia, currently runs a successful online casino and online poker in both Nevada and New Jersey through a strong partnership with 888. The partnership should allow the brand to take advantage of merged liquidity agreements in other states when they become available.

Mount Airy also has an established partnership with 888 since 2015, also making them a good bet in Pennsylvania. They were one of the first three casinos to apply for a license. Shortly before their license was approved by the PGCB, Mount Airy announced a major partnership with PokerStars to offer an online casino and online poker room and with BetStars to offer a sportsbook.

In September, SugarHouse and the Hollywood Casino — owned by Penn National — became the 4th and 5th PA casinos to receive authorization to offer online gambling in PA. In early October, Sands Bethlehem and Valley Forge joined the ever-growing list of online gambling approvals. This was followed by approvals for Stadium Casino and Presque Isle Downs and Casino in late October for online table game and online slots license.

Other applicants

Sands Bethlehem was somewhat of a surprise in the first round of Pennsylvania license applications given that they were owned by staunch online gambling opponent Sheldon Adelson. But with a $1.3 billion takeover by Wind Creek Hospitality and as one of Pennsylvania’s top casinos, new ownership is eager to jump into the online gambling market with both feet.

Rivers and SugarHouse, which both applied for licenses before the original deadline, houses a proprietary software division through parent company Rush Street Interactive. The Rivers Casino is the third largest casino in Pennsylvania while SugarHouse is number eight. In early October, Rivers Casino pulled their online gambling application so that Rush Street could focus on the Sugar House Casino license.

The field

The other Pennsylvania casinos that applied for $10 million licenses in mid-July are undoubtedly eager to achieve a competitive advantage in what will be the largest regulated market in the United States to date.

Online gambling software providers could be the wild card. Whether its GVC (owner of partypoker), The Stars Group, NYX, or some other software company, platform providers will also be jockeying for position to enter Pennsylvania. This process could yield some surprising partnerships.

The original abstainers

There were originally four casinos that did not apply for a comprehensive license — The Meadows Casino, Mohegan Sun Pocono, Presque Isle Downs and Casino and Lady Luck Casino. These casinos may fall a bit behind, although each of these casinos have options.

In mid-August, Mohegan Sun actually applied for all three licenses at the $4 million price tag, costing the brand $2 million more had it been a few weeks earlier. Meanwhile, Presque Isle Downs and Casino applied for licenses to offer online table games and slots at a total price tag of $8 million. Stadium Casino joined Presque as the holder of two licenses — online slots and online table games — when they rescinded their online poker license applications.

When will PA Online Casinos launch?

When New Jersey — the closest comparison to PA — regulated online gambling in early 2013, it took about ten months from the time the bill was signed until games went live later in the year.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed the PA gambling expansion bill — which included online gambling — in October of 2017.

Online gambling operator license applications opened up in Pennsylvania this spring but it wasn’t until right up until the deadline — July 16th — that nine of Pennsylvania’s casinos finally submitted license applications.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board had 90 days from the time of application to approve or deny. With another 30 days for remaining Pennsylvania casinos to apply for licenses, it is likely that the last round applications will be approved in October and November.

Because some licenses have gone unclaimed, the PGCB also opened up eleven licenses to QGEs, which essentially refers to casinos that are outside of Pennsylvania. Eligible QGEs will need to submit petitions during the second half of October before a random public drawing will be held to fill the remaining spots.

If casinos will be ready with their online gambling platforms — which could be a large undertaking for some of Pennsylvania’s casino — we could see the first online casinos in PA launch before the end of 2018. However, one hang-up in that timeline is that software and other online gambling providers working in conjunction with PA casinos will also need to be reviewed by the PGCB.

What about sports betting?

In early 2018, sports betting wasn’t even legal in Pennsylvania. Fortunately, the PA legislators foresaw that the federal sports betting climate would change, which indeed happened in the spring of 2018. The US Supreme Court declared that the 1992 PAPSA law was unconstitutional, effectively opening up sports betting for states to regulate. Since Pennsylvania’s gambling expansion covered sports betting, they had a leg up.

In July, the PGCB opened up 13 sports betting licenses at a cost of $10 million per license. So far, five out of thirteen PA casinos have applied to offer sports betting — Hollywood Casino, Parx Casino, Harrah’s Philadelphia, Sugar House and Rivers Casino.

Parx Casino and Hollywood were approved in early October while the other three were approved in late October. Parx has said that they intend to launch a physical sportsbook in November and online sportsbooks could follow in early 2019, but now the company says that a sportsbook launch might have to wait until early 2019.

In the meantime, Penn National’s Hollywood Casino and Rush Interactive’s SugarHouse Casino and Rivers Casino could all be live by early December.

How to play on PA Online Casinos?

At this point, there is no way to play on Pennsylvania online casinos until licenses are approved and software platforms launch.

While you wait, you can play on the PA online lottery, which went live in Pennsylvania in May of 2018. New players can receive a $5 free bonus to try out the selection of engaging games.