Pennsylvania Casino Gambling
Looking at the gambling market as a whole, Pennsylvania is a significant part of it due to its land-based casinos, lottery and both off-track horse betting and onsite horse races.
Gambling was legalized in Pennsylvania in 2004. That was when slot parlors were authorized to operate virtual lottery terminals (VLTs). In 2010, the authorization was expanded to include poker as well. Horse races take place at two tracks for the time being, but the bettors have the chance to wager onsite and at OTB venues. In the state of Pennsylvania, there are 12 brick and mortar casinos which, combined, offer 25,000 slots and 300 poker tables. A new one is scheduled for opening soon, and t will be located in the Stadium District of Philadelphia.
As for Pennsylvania casino gambling, Pennsylvanians are privileged enough to enjoy legal online gambling within the state. As of October 2017, Pennsylvania casino gambling has been legalized. Becoming the fourth state in the US to allow online gambling, Pennsylvania allows online slots and poker, daily fantasy sports, sports betting, online table games, video gaming terminals ant pubs, bars and truck stops and more. However, it’s all still in the system and the authorizations are expected to go from theory to practice in the second half of 2018, starting with online lotteries going live in May.
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Online Gambling Categories Legal in PA
The key event in the development of Pennsylvania casino online gambling was the passing of the state’s gaming expansion package on October 25th, 2017. Both the Pennsylvania Senate and the PA House passed the H 271; the governor Tom Wolf signed the bill into law on October 30th and so Pennsylvania officially became the fourth US state to legalize online gambling. It is expected to see the sites up and running later in 2018, as there are plenty of preparations to be conducted, regulations to be established and tests to be finalized.
What does the new PA Online Gambling Law authorize? It is revealed to the public that the new law allows for 13 licenses that cover slots, online table games and peer-to-peer games (such as online poker). Current Pennsylvania casino license holders will be the first to test the licenses by purchasing them for $10 million total. Should they decide to purchase them individually, it will cost them $4 million each.
Certain issues are being mentioned that are yet unresolved: multiple skins on a single license, player pooling, lack of concrete dates for launches etc.
Online Lottery, Sports Betting and DFS
Lottery draws online is run by the state and form a part of the gambling expansion. Already the Keystone State offers Powerball and Mega Millions lottery entries in cooperation with hundreds of retailers across the country. The expansion will introduce draw-game tickets, scratch-off games and Keno tickets, among other things. Virtual sports will also soon become a reality thanks to land-based video lottery terminals (VLTs). It is a nice alternative to real-time sports betting, as it simulates a race with realistic, impressive animation and allows bettors to wager on the outcome of the race beforehand. Virtual online sports aren’t exactly a part of the plan, at least for the initial launch and post-launch period. The concept may come alive in the future, though.
It is important to know that players aren’t obligated to be Pennsylvania residents to play; they only need to be within the state’s borders during play. Also, they need to be of legal gambling age, which is at least 18 years old.
Regulated daily fantasy sports betting is also expected to become available to Pennsylvania players, especially if the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (Bradley Act, a law that defines the legal status of sports betting throughout the US) falls. It might happen as a result of New Jersey’s ongoing efforts to legalize sports wagering.
Pennsylvania Satellite Casinos and Land-Based Slot Machines
Pennsylvanian casinos are in the process of expanding online, but that isn’t their only option as they strive to progress. They can also open each a smaller, mini-casino, known as a satellite casino venue. As a matter of fact, the law already commissioned 13 new licenses for such objects. These properties will have up to 750 slot machines max and up to 30 table games on offer. The license combo for both slots and table games will cost $7.5 million + $2.5 million.
Satellite casinos will be built at a certain distance from existing casinos as well as from other satellite-type gambling venues. The location restrictions have been evident in cases where municipalities opted out of hosting such facilities. There’s a record of over 1,000 municipalities that have refused to have such an establishment in their townships.
A series of auctions is currently being conducted by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board which should result in properties claiming the mentioned mini-casino licenses. There are three categories of facilities and these are up for bidding in two series of auctions. A third auction is a possibility, should there be some licenses left, and it will be set up for qualified, approved entities outside of PA.
Land-based slots in Keystone State make quite a story. Up to 2004, Pennsylvanians pretty much depended on Atlantic City. But in 2004 PA legislature passed Act 71 and the introduction of Class II gaming machines was allowed. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board was founded and they’ve authorized gambling machines by the likes of slots, only these were fed by a master server. Such gaming items became present in 14 parlors (at least that’s how many purchased licenses, although not all of them opened). The next step towards improving gambling in PA was made in 2010 when the licensing expanded to include poker and blackjack.
Since then, the Keystone State has become the state with the second-highest revenue from gambling in the US. Gaming revenue has exceeded $3 billion dollars each year, reaching its peak in 2016. Focusing on slots for a moment, we’ve already mentioned that there are 12 casino establishments within the state of Pennsylvania offering over 25,000 machines for residents and legal-age visitors. Here are some stats, to give you an idea of the land-based slot options in PA:
Pennsylvania casino and gambling venue under the Spotlight: Parx Casino & Racing
As the biggest and most successful of the dozen Pennsylvania casinos, Parx Casino & Racing deserves a few extra words. Not to burden readers with extensive history, we’ll simply point out that Parx Casino was originally established as the Keystone Racetrack in 1974. It became Parx Casino as we know it in 2008, while previously going to transitions from a pure racetrack to a slot parlor known as PhillyPark. Owned by two Brits, Bob Green and Bill Hogwood, Parx Casino boasts over 3,000 slot machines and 130 tables. Visit the hotel for oustanding entertainment and good dinning.
The casino offers blackjack, baccarat, roulette, craps, 3-card poker, 4-card poker and more. The poker room houses 80 poker tables that welcome Philadelphia customers and other visitors from the surrounding area. As one of the high-profile offerings of Parx, the poker room hosts two tournament series, the World Poker Tour stop (the WPT Parx Open Poker Classic) in August and a WPT-streamed series (Big Stax) in February. Matching the poker room significance, the horseracing track at Parx Casino is the home of the Pennsylvania Derby. The one-mile oval is a Grade I race that runs in September since 2010, which particularly suits competitors looking to prepare for the Breeder’s Cup.
For additional entertainment, Parx Casino & Racing visitors can enjoy eight restaurants and bars, a dance club and a sports bar.
Pennsylvania State Legal Environment
- Land-Based Gambling: Permitted in 12 licensed casinos, 13th underway
- Online Gambling: Permitted, legislation passed in October 2017
- Lottery: Pennsylvania State Lottery, multi-state Powerball and Mega Millions drawings
- Charitable or House-Based Gambling: Offered
- Minimum Gambling Age: 21 for casino gambling and online gambling/18 for pool betting, horse racing betting, and DFS
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