The Evolution of Gambling in Pennsylvania

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Gambling in the US is everchanging. In 2018, dated legislation was scrapped and this paved way for the introduction of gambling on sports – something that was previously illegal in America. Now, individual states can decide whether or not to allow sports betting and, as of April 2020, a total of 42 have already signed up or are showing signs of offering such services. 


Pennsylvania became the seventh state to officially offer betting on sports and the fourth state to offer sports betting online. A wide variety of betting options are offered to consumers both online and via land-based sportsbook shops, including placing bets on the Super Bowl, Super Bowl MVP, NHL, NBA, NCAAB and Racing.


Not only can you place bets on the sports already mentioned, but you can also place bets on fantasy sports too. Daily fantasy sports have been regulated in the state since 2017, allowing consumers to bet on the following:

  • Fantasy Football Players Championship

  • FastPick

  • Sports Hub

  • Scout Fantasy Sports

  • Yahoo Fantasy

  • Boom Fantasy


  • DraftKings

  • FanDuel

  • FantasyDraft


From Eagles fans to betting on Sixers, there are various options to suit and various ways to pick up a win. Naturally, to place a bet online you’ll need to sign up to a sportsbook website and more often than not, a welcome offer will be waiting to welcome you when you fund your account. 


What About Casinos?


Thanks to state legislation, Pennsylvania has been offering casino games via land-based casino venues since July 2004. You can find all the information you need on the subject at pennsylvaniagambling.info. When the law was passed, a total of 14 slot machine venues were given the green light. However, only 12 of those are in operation. Strange as it seems, many of these casinos are located at racetracks where horse racing was once a primary focus, before the expansion of gambling throughout the state.


A bitter legal battle got underway a year after legislation was passed in 2004 and despite attempts from opponents to block casino gambling, residents of Pennsylvania could carry on placing bets as normal. In 2007, the state council passed a resolution that would allow the city to have a voice in the placement of casinos. And the voices were heard when the potential location for two casinos in the state were revealed, with residents expressing their anger at the plans.


The city attorney understood that the state law allowed for such comments from residents, however, the state filed a lawsuit and the casinos were built as planned. Licenses were granted in 2006 to racetrack holders, permitting them to operate slot machines too and on December 20th 2006, five standalone casinos were also granted permanent gambling licenses from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.


Going Digital


On 20th October 2017, Governor Tom Wolf signed HB 271 and as a result, online casino and online poker was made legal in the State. In May of 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was unconstitutional, which then triggered a clause in Pennsylvania’s gambling bill, and resulted in sports betting being made legal too.


In 2019, online casinos were launched in Pennsylvania and as expected, the iGaming industry has taken off throughout the state. More and more online casinos are opening, and this is allowing customers to play a wealth of games across all devices. Whether you’re glued to your smartphone or prefer to use a desktop computer, you will have access to a wide choice of games ranging from slots to table games.


To operate legally, online casinos must have a gambling license. If you’re unsure as to whether a chosen venue is legal or not, simply scroll to the foot of the welcome page and you’ll find details on the license as well as an operating number. 


Just like sports betting online, online casinos offer attractive welcome bonuses to new players and on-going promotions and perks for when you become a fully-fledged member. A variety of deposit methods are accepted, from major debit cards to e-wallets. Customer support will always be offered, allowing you to get answers when you need them.


Pennsylvania online casinos usually offer loyalty schemes, VIP perks and incentives for playing. Some allow you to download apps, others don’t. That being said, all offer an instant play interface for gaming directly via your browser, regardless of the device you use. 


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