Governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf signed into law an extensive gaming reform in the form of a Pennsylvania online gambling bill, officially making the state of Pennsylvania the fourth state in the US to make online gambling and poker legal.
The Low Down on the Pennsylvania Online Gambling Bill
Now that the Pennsylvania online gambling bill has passed, the subsequent step is for the Gaming Control Board to begin taking applications for online casinos and poker rooms to open shop in Pennsylvania. However, there are no set deadlines for when this will take place. What we do know is that there is a 90 day deadline for when the GCB must approve any given application. There is also a 120-day deadline for when current casino licensees need to apply for a license. As of now, once the ball gets rolling, it seems likely that we’ll be well into 2018 for online poker and gambling websites to be in business in Pennsylvania.
What’s Included in the Pennsylvania Online Gambling Bill?
- Allows as many as 10 satellite casinos
- Allows gambling from tablets in Pennsylvania airports
- Allows video gaming in truck stops
- Sets the groundwork for sports betting if, in the future, it becomes legal federally
- Sets regulation for Daily Fantasy Sports
How Much Revenue is Pennsylvania Set to Make From iGaming?
The Senate and House estimates that there will be over $200 million in revenue made from gaming in the next year most of which will be coming from online casino and poker sites. There are some people who are sceptical about the success of online gaming in Pennsylvania based on the high tax rate that has been set on casinos. Online table and poker games are set at 16% and online slots are set at a whopping 54%.
Timeline of Online Casino and Poker in Pennsylvania
Like previously stated, there is no set timeline for when online casino and poker rooms will launch. However, we can look at New Jersey’s history and assume that there will be a similar timeframe. New Jersey took nine months from passing the bill to the first online casinos launching. Pennsylvania may in fact take shorter than that as they will look to New Jersey’s past experience to expedite the process. Additionally, the bill has some specs that are set to speed up the approval process.
Will Pennsylvania Be Sharing its Player Pools With Other Legal Online Casino States?
Nothing is for sure, but it is thought that they likely will. Currently, Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey share their player pools. Pennsylvania’s regulation does set a clear path for interstate play and so there likely will be very little holding PA from joining player pools with the other states that have legalized iGaming.
Who Will Be Able to Participate?
Similar to Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada, those that are physically within Pennsylvania state lines will be able to play as long as they are 21 or older. You don't have to be residing in Pennsylvania so visitors to the state can participate as well.
Why Did Pennsylvania Decide to Legalize Online Casino and Poker Games?
Pennsylvania has a well-developed land-based casino industry. However, the increasing competition from its neighboring states have started to lower the state's margins, which is why Pennsylvania has decided to legalize online gaming and remain competitive. In fact, just from the estimated licensing fees that the state is set to gain, it will cover about $100 million in a massive budget gap that it needs to fill. On top of this, it has been found that many Pennsylvania residents play on illegal overseas websites and so legalizing online gaming and passing the Pennsylvania online gambling bill will ensure the safety of its citizens.
The legalization of online casino and poker games in Pennsylvania is a major step forward for the regulated gaming industry within the US. However, we are still in the very beginning stages of crafting a well-developed online casino industry within the state. Stay tuned on PlayingLegal.com to keep updated on the emergence of online casino and poker play within Pennsylvania.