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Online Gambling in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania made history in 2004 when it finally legalized gambling. After many failed attempts for legislature, the approval of Act 71 ushered in a new era for gambling in the state. 

And now, history is set to repeat itself with the H 271 bill. 

Approved in October 2017, this new legislation legalizes Pennsylvania online gambling. Online casinos, poker sites, fantasy sports... Residents of the state can look forward to an entertaining future. The new bill now makes Pennsylvania the fourth state to legalize online gambling. Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey all have an online gambling presence.

The first wave of online casinos went live in July of 2019 - with online sportsbooks launching in September of the same year.

Need more information about online gambling in Pennsylvania? We have put together a topical guide that should answer the most common questions.

Pennsylvania Online Gambling FAQ

Can I play at legal Pennsylvania online casinos?

With the passing of the H 271 bill, online casinos can now legally operate within the state. And with this new legislation, 13 licenses for online gambling sites were authorized. In July 2019, the first wave of PA online casinos went live. Among those sites were Philadelphia's famous Sugarhouse Casino; a brand who already operates an NJ online casino.

What type of online gambling is legal in Pennsylvania?

Of all the four online gambling states, Pennsylvania has the most relaxed online gambling policy. Whereas Nevada's restrictive bill only allows for online poker, PA residents can enjoy a far greater selection. 

Online casino, fantasy sports and sports betting have all received the green light. There's even a fully operational online lottery site.

When was gambling legalized in Pennsylvania?

Gambling was legalized in PA with the passing of Act 71 in 2004. When the bill passed, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board was established; this body regulates gambling within the state. The original bill only permitted very basic slot machines and a handful of slot parlors. But in 2010 blackjack and poker were added to the license. 

Will Pennsylvania be the only state to offer online casino?

No. Online casino is also offered by New Jersey and Delaware. NJ made online casino gambling legal in 2013 while Delaware passed their bill just a year before. 

What did the H 271 bill do for gambling in Pennsylvania?

The H 271 bill is the reason online gambling is now legal in the state of PA. The bill did have an impact in other areas of statewide gambling, however. Land-based operations also received some perks from the new bill.

At the same time, Pennsylvania authorized 10 new mini casinos to launch (also known as satellite casinos). These smaller properties are set to offer a more intimate and social gambling experience. Offering up to 750 slots and 30 table games, there's set to be plenty of choice for PA patrons.

Category 3 casinos (resort style casinos) also received several boons and relaxed rules. The number of slots the premises could offer increased as well as the removal of the necessary membership fee. VGTs were also authorized to be available at qualifying truck stops. And finally, the sale of online lottery was legalized - something the state has already taken advantage of.

What are the taxes on online casinos in PA?

Pennsylvania has some of the highest online gambling taxes in the whole of America. Land-based casinos already have to deal with some of the heftiest tariffs around; in fact, PA's tax is the highest of any state. Online slots are set to have a 54% tax rate - and this has prompted much criticism from around the gambling industry. Especially considering NJ online casinos have a tax rate on slots of just 17.5%.

Many of the arguments surrounding the tax rates involve the growth of the casinos in question. How are the businesses supposed to flourish with such small margins? The H 271 bill also sets taxes for the other permitted online gambling products. Table games and poker would be taxed at 16% - while sports betting would be taxed at 36%.

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