Pennsylvania Casinos

Written by: Cliff Spiller, Online Casino and Game Expert
Pennsylvania Casino & Gambling
  • Horse racing (1963), Lottery (1972), Bingo (1981), Slot Casinos (2004), Table Games (2010)
  • $2.8 billion
  • $6.8 billion
  • 18 for lottery, bingo, and racing, 21 for casinos
  • Pennsylvania permits casinos to set aside a percentage of the floor for smoking areas
  • Horse racing is the only form of legal online gambling

Pennsylvania is the second largest casino state in terms of gambling revenue. Most of the state’s casinos are racetracks with attached casinos. There are three resort-style Pennsylvania casinos. Those offer fewer slots than the main gaming establishments in the state. This is unusual compared to most other states where casinos offer amenities. Most Pennsylvania casinos offer little more than gambling on slots, video poker, and table games.

Casinos are not the only forms of Pennsylvania gambling within the state. There is a state lottery that sells instant games and holds lotto drawings. There are live horse racing and off-track betting. Charities may hold limit games of chance to raise funds.

Paying Gambling Taxes in Pennsylvania

Do you have to pay taxes on your gambling winnings? OnlineUnitedStatesCasinos has gathered everything you need to know about paying taxes on your gambling winnings straight from a Certified Public Accountant. For more information, please visit our exclusive Gambling Taxes article.

Types of Pennsylvania Online Gambling Allowed

Horseracing iconThere is only one form of legalized online Pennsylvania gambling. That is off-track betting on horses. Sites like TVG, TwinSpires, and XpressBet partnered with Pennsylvania tracks to offer this service over the Internet and on mobile apps.

Daily fantasy sports sites claim to be legal in Pennsylvania. There is no law on the books that expressly states that. The companies claim to be skill gaming sites. There are bills under consideration by the Pennsylvania Legislature that would make daily fantasy sports a regulated and legal activity. DraftKings, FanDuel, CBS Sports, and Yahoo! are among the sites that accept Pennsylvania players.

Types of Live Pennsylvania Gambling

Popular games iconPopular Games
  • Slots: Yes
  • Blackjack: Yes
  • Poker: Yes
  • Craps/Roulette: Yes
  • Horses: Yes
  • Lottery: Yes

Pennsylvania gambling offers nearly every form of betting they want in the state. Pennsylvania casinos started out only offering slots, video poker, and electronic table games. That expanded to live poker, blackjack, craps, roulette, and nearly any house-banked card game one can imagine. There are 12 Pennsylvania casinos with one more in the planning stage.

There are seven racetracks in Pennsylvania. These offer live racing and race books. These tracks moved into the casino business. That helped keep the racing industry above water.

The Pennsylvania Lottery sells scratch-off tickets and lotto drawings. These are available at thousands of convenience stores across the state. There are Pennsylvania-only lotto drawings that include Pick 2, Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5, Cash 4 Life, Cash 5, and Match 6. The Pennsylvania Lottery also participates in multi-state lottery drawings. These are Powerball and Mega Millions.

Bingo is permissible if spread by a charity. There are more than a dozen licensed bingo halls in the state.

Pennsylvania gambling lawsThe Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is permitted to issue 14 casino licenses. Seven were guaranteed to the state’s racetracks. There were five standalone Pennsylvania casino licenses awarded. Two resorts receive licensure. A third resort will receive a license in 2017 to bring the total to 15 Pennsylvania casinos within its borders.

Casinos in Pennsylvania pay a tax rate of 55 percent on slots, video poker, and electronic table games. Live poker and table games have a tax rate of 16 percent.

Charities may apply for a bingo license. These cost $100 and are active for one year. Bingo games may have no prize larger than $250 for a single game except for the jackpot drawing. That bingo game may have a $2,000 prize pool. The largest amount of money that may be awarded in one day by a bingo charity is $4,000. Bingo halls may not spread more than two nights of action a week. Exceptions are made for charities that only hold annual celebrations. These nonprofit groups can hold 10 consecutive days of bingo games.

The Pennsylvania Lottery may only spread two types of games. One is instant games, sometimes referred to as scratch-off tickets. The other is lotto drawings. The Pennsylvania Lottery holds its own drawings as well as joins multi-state pools.

Horse racing is active in Pennsylvania. Seven tracks are licensed to offer live races. Each has a race book. Horse racing tracks may partner with online betting apps for remote wagering. Players may make deposits and withdrawals at the partner tracks.

The minimum Pennsylvania gambling age is 18 years of age, except for casinos, where the minimum gambling age is 21. Bingo participants may be under 18 if accompanied by an adult.

List of Pennsylvania Casinos

There are 12 Pennsylvania casinos open and currently operating. Seven are at racetracks that also offer live and simulcast betting, and the rest are casino resorts.

Harrah’s – Philadelphia2,000 Slot Machines777 Harrah’s
Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course – Grantville2,450 Slot Machines777 Hollywood
Lady Luck Casino – Farmington600 Slot Machines4067 National
Mohegan Sun Pocono – Plains Township2,300 Slot Machines1280 Pennsylvania 315
Mt. Airy Casino – Mount Pocono1,800 Slot Machines312 Woodland Rd.
Parx Casino & Racing – Bensalem3,500 Slot Machines2999 Street
Presque Isles Downs – Erie1,700 Slot Machines8199 Perry Hw
Rivers Casino – Pittsburgh2,900 Slot Machines777 Casino
Sands Casino – Bethlehem3,000 Slot Machines77 Sands Blvd.
SugarHouse Casino – Philadelphia1,600 Slot Machines1001 N. Delaware Ave.
The Meadows Racetrack & Casino – Washington3,000 Slot Machines210 Racetrack
Valley Forge Casino – King of Prussia600 Slot Machines1160 1st Ave.

History of Pennsylvania Gambling

Pennsylvania casinos historyHorse racing was the first form of legalized gambling in Pennsylvania. Its regulation started in 1964. The racing industry dated back more than 200 years before that. Dozens of tracks operated off the book races where the betting was handled through underground networks. It took until 1964 for the state to determine it was better off regulating and taxing the racing industry than to let it operate without any oversight.

The Pennsylvania Lottery was created by Act 91 on August 26, 1971. The first lottery ticket was sold on March 7, 1972. It was a half-dollar drawing with a $1 million grand prize. The Pennsylvania Lottery joined interstate drawings on June 27, 2002.

The Racehorse Development and Gaming Act was signed into law by Governor Ed Rendell on July 5, 2004. This permitted racetracks to add slots, video poker and electronic table games. It was created to help save the state’s racing industry. Table games and live poker were added in January 2010.

The new table games helped Pennsylvania’s gambling industry explode. The state surpassed New Jersey as the second highest state in terms of gaming revenue in 2012. Pennsylvania has retained that title ever since. Nevada is the only state with more gaming revenue than Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania looked again to expand gambling in 2013. This time, it was over the Internet. Multiple attempts have included online poker and casino games. None has reached the assembly or senate floor for a vote.

The Pennsylvania Legislature is also looked to expand gambling to daily fantasy sports in 2016. Those talks have also failed to produce a new law regulating and taxing the contests.

Pennsylvania Casinos & Gambling FAQ

How old do you have to be to gamble in Pennsylvania?

The minimum Pennsylvania gambling age is determined by the types of gambling they want to use. Lottery and racing players must be at least 18. Pennsylvania casino players must be 21 years of age or older. Bingo players must be at least 18 unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.

What games are available in Pennsylvania casinos?

Slots, video poker, electronic table games, live poker, blackjack, baccarat, Pai Gow, Three Card Poker, Four Card Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold’em, Let it Ride, Mississippi Stud Poker, Texas Hold’em Bonus and Caribbean Stud Poker are among the approved games at Pennsylvania casinos.

Is off-track betting legal in Pennsylvania?

Yes. All seven horse racing tracks in Pennsylvania offer race books.

Is online gambling legal in Pennsylvania?

The only form of online gambling legal in Pennsylvania is off-track betting on horses.

Are daily fantasy sports contests legal in Pennsylvania?

State law does not cover daily fantasy sports. Sites like DraftKings, FanDuel, CBS Sports and Yahoo! claim that the contests are skilled games.

What state is the second highest in casino revenue?

Pennsylvania generates more gaming revenue than any other state except Nevada.

What games are offered by the Pennsylvania Lottery?

The Pennsylvania Lottery sells scratch-off and lotto tickets.

Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller Online Casino and Game Expert

Cliff Spiller is a global casino industry specialist who writes relatable content for beginners and experts. He's written gambling articles and online casino reviews at OUSC for over 15 years.

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