The First Month of Legal Online Gambling in Pennsylvania

Written by: Cliff Spiller, Online Casino and Game Expert
5 minute read

Pennsylvania Online Gambling One MonthAugust 15th marks one month since the official launch of the first legal online casino platforms in the state of Pennsylvania. After the long and lengthy process of passing online gambling bill H 271 back in October 2017, this period is undoubtedly one of great novelty and accomplishments for the Keystone state.

Let’s look into the recent development of events and what to expect in the coming months.

News Highlights

  • Pennsylvania legal online gambling bill H 271 passed October 2017 and was first enacted in July 2019.
  • Three live casino operators have already launched their online casino skins.
  • The Pennsylvania online casinos are expected to expand their market coverage and game offerings.

The first month of these newly-released market operations has gone by uneventful, in the best way possible. Glitches and loading issues, as well as licensing and certification requirements, have all been taken care of just in time for the launch of the first three platforms:

  • Sugarhouse Online Casino
  • Hollywood Online Casino
  • Parx Online Casino

All three were audited for RNG fairness, and licensed by the watchful eye of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. That said, their offering is a bit less impressive than the rest of their accomplishments, at least for the time being.

The Current State Of Things

As it stands, the legally operating online casinos are only equipped with the essentials to get things started. Their game selection consists of less than 50 slot titles each, as well as a few table games. More diversity is surely expected to come, both in these and other game categories – video poker and live dealer, per se.

Getting Pennsylvania Online Gambling Up and Running

Like any other novel industry, Pennsylvania’s online gambling will require some adjustment time and even more attention paid to development. While an overview of the first month indicates a somewhat positive progression, there are many aspects to address before it’s up and running at full steam.

More Competition Between Online Casinos

Rules iconThe Pennsylvania online gambling industry has openly taken to the model of New Jersey, and a sure proof of this is the licensing principle. Live casino operators the first ones allowed to license and operate online casinos. However, they can run multiple skins under the same license, as is the case in neighboring Jersey.

The Introduction of Mini-Casinos

The advantages of greater competition – both externally between casinos and internally between skins – are more than evident. Still, PA legislators seem well aware of this and have even gone the extra mile to pass legislation that allows the launch of mini-casinos.

Despite the minute title, such establishments should be able to offer between 350 and 700 slots, as well as 30 table games. This should bring in enough variety to boost competition even further.

Establishments will have to wait for a license auction based on their category.

Category 1 and 2

Live racinos and standalone casinos will get first dibs.

Category 3

Minor casinos and resorts will have a chance to purchase licenses shortly after that.

Increased Game Selection

Game Selection iconInternally, operating casinos and those poised for launches still, have another issue at hand – game selection. As mentioned above, their offering so far is rather scarce, and will not hold the interest of the extensive Pennsylvania online gambling players for much longer.

Comparison to their ‘role-model,’ New Jersey, and their leading Golden Nugget casino is enough to note the massive discrepancy in slots numbers alone. Still, NJ started off small as well back in 2013, so there’s hope for Pennsylvania online casinos yet.

Payment Processing Options

Deposit bonus iconOnline gambling is still somewhat stigmatized across the US, mainly due to the long-time period of illegal activity across the states. In the past, banking institutions and payment processing services took the hit from the authorities for facilitating payments to such businesses.

Hence, even nowadays, while the industry is slowly entering one state market at a time, there is still a lot of fear and guards are up. Nevertheless, things are definitely going for the better, and Pennsylvania’s online banking options for gambling platforms proves it.

Game Platform Crossover

Sportsbook iconNew Jersey found massive success with the addition of legal sports betting to their online casino businesses. In fact, it was one of the best things that have happened to their online gambling industry.

Pennsylvania sportsbooks launched only a while back, so there is an excellent potential for benefits across all industry participants – players, casino operators, and state legislators alike.

More To Come For Pennsylvania’s Online Gambling Industry

Pennsylvania’s vast territory and player pool potential, make for quite an arable land for its online gambling marketplace. Proof of this is the number of obstacles the casino launch has been able to overcome. These obstacles range from the controversial opinions of the DOJ to the most recent announcement by Apple regarding app requirements for their App Store.

The successful casino launches, as well as Parx’s and FanDuel’s sportsbook apps finding their spot in the Apple App Store so far, are more than promising.

Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller Online Casino and Game Expert

I've been writing for OUSC about the casino industry for more than 15 years. I love playing games, including poker, Scrabble, and trivia games. I enjoy researching and writing new online casino reviews and sharing game strategies.

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