Pennsylvania is becoming a mini-slots haven, with commercial casinos popping up mostly along the state’s western and eastern borders. Pennsylvania casinos are a little out of the ordinary.
All of the casinos are commercial, though some are run by tribal groups from Connecticut and other nearby states. The state’s industry is currently made up of two casino resorts and four standalone casinos, with some slot machine play available at pari-mutuel racetracks that dot the state.
My three favorite places to play slots in Pennsylvania are Wind Creek Bethlehem Casino, Rivers Casino Philadelphia, and Parx Casino. While some of these casinos are on the list of “best RTP slots in Pennsylvania,” some of them are just places where I enjoy playing for one reason or another.
The average RTP across all slot games in the state is 90.15%. Average theoretical RTPs for slot machines at different casinos in Pennsylvania range from 89.1% – 91%.
A Note About Pennsylvania Slots
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board releases monthly data related to all things gaming-related in the state. The data is a little slow to trick in, usually about four months behind the calendar. But gamblers headed to Pennsylvania casinos should be happy that the statistics made publicly available by the PGCB can give us some insight into where we’re likely to find the best-paying Pennsylvania slot games.
While we can’t access a list of specific RTP figures for slot machine games, we can see revenue data for every casino in the state. I had to do a little bit of math to work out these average RTP figures for Pennsylvania slots, and they are only a little bit helpful. But what we get from the Pennsylvania gaming board is a lot more detailed than what you find in some other states.
By dividing the amount paid out to Pennsylvania slots players at a particular casino by the amount of bets paid into their slot machines, you can get a decent sense of the relative loose or tight status of the slots at that casino. This also lets me easily rank every casino in the state in terms of their slot machine’s average RTP.
According to the most recent figures available, the five best Pennsylvania casinos in terms of average theoretical return to player are:
- Wind Creek Bethlehem Casino – 91% average RTP
- Rivers Casino Philadelphia – 90.49% average RTP
- Valley Forge Casino Resort – 90.25% average RTP
- Parx Casino – 90.2% average RTP
Does this mean that these are automatically the best places to play slots in PA? Not necessarily. Some slots players aren’t all that concerned with the machine’s average RTP. It’s also possible that these figures are thrown off by some feature of the casino floor.
What if a few machines with really high average RTPs are throwing off the average for the rest of the games? Comparing casinos by average RTP isn’t an automatic way of discerning the best places to play slots.
The average theoretical RTP for all slots in Pennsylvania is 90.15%. That means the current leader in average RTP, Wind Creek Casino, is only about 0.85% higher than the average game statewide. Consider that fact when making your choice of Pennsylvania slot casino.
Let’s take a second to point out the five worst Pennsylvania casinos in terms of their average theoretical return to player:
- Live! Casino Pittsburgh – 89.8% average RTP
- Nemacolin – 89.7% average RTP
- Penn National – 89.7% average RTP
- Rivers Pittsburgh – 89.6% average RTP
- Live! Casino Philadelphia – 89.1% average RTP
Remember that the average RTP for a slot in Pennsylvania is just 90.15%. That means the games at Live! Hotel & Casino Philadelphia are only about 1% below the average for the entire state.
What I’m trying to point out is that there’s not a huge amount of variation between average RTP figures casino-wide in Pennsylvania. Extreme advantage gamblers may see value in choosing a casino where the average expectation is 1% higher, but I don’t suspect most slots players are going to go out of their way for a possible decreased house edge of just 1%.
Wind Creek Bethlehem Casino
Located near Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Wind Creek is one of the bigger gambling floors in Pennsylvania, currently home to 3,027 slots. The average RTP across all the casino’s slots is 91%, giving it the top such figure of all gambling venues in the Keystone State.
The big draw at Wind Creek is the sheer size of it and the fact that you’re only about 90 minutes outside of NYC. The customer base at Wind Creek has a really strong, “I’m from NYC and look at me, I’m gambling in the middle of nowhere” vibe. Lots of table games running at once, with a really active crowd on weekend nights and a full schedule of entertainment.
I like to play at Wind Creek because it has lots of different slot games and the biggest casino floor, so it feels the most like the other casinos I enjoy playing at in AC or in Vegas. I’d say Wind Creek is probably the most traditional “family-friendly” style casino in the state. It definitely has the most restaurant options, including two different Emeril restaurants.
My favorite slots to play here are 50 Lions Xtreme Mystery and 7Up. They’re both Aristocrat games, but they’re very different.
50 Lions Xtreme Mystery is a 50-pay line game with a huge max bet range, and to be honest, less volatility than the weirdly addictive but expensive classic 7Up game. Aristocrat games are famous for their volatility, but I don’t lose as fast on these 50 Lions games, maybe it’s just a personal thing.
Rivers Casino Philadelphia
I’ll admit way up top that I like this place for only two reasons—it’s close to the Philly airport, and they have a decent collection of just over 1,500 slots. The fact that the average RTP here is higher than the state average (90.49% at Rivers Philly compared to 90.15% statewide) makes it an even easier choice.
If you land at Philadelphia International Airport, you can drive to Rivers in about 20 minutes, even in a little light traffic. If you take a couple of trains and don’t mind about a ten-minute walk, you can get there in about an hour if you take the Airport Line to Suburban Station, then transfer your way to Spring Garden Station.
In the middle of Fishtown, built along the Delaware River, Rivers Casino is a bright and shining little gambling oasis among what seems like perennial construction. They have an event center, a little sportsbook, some live entertainment, but no hotel. It’s strange when you see the place, you honestly expect it to be a full-fledged casino resort. That’s not quite what it is.
When I’m here, I like to wander through their collection of Asian slots. They have a nicer collection, or at least more centralized, than other Pennsylvania casinos. I like the game Jinse Dao Dragon. Once you figure out what’s going on, it’s just an expanding wilds game with tons of side games and special features. If you like Asian-style slots, check out Rivers Casino in Philly.
When you first walk into Parx Casino, you’ll be shocked by the size of the gaming floor. At 150,000 square feet, it wouldn’t be out of place in New Jersey or Nevada. Parx hosts just over 3,000 slot machines (3,059 machines as of July 2021) and the average RTP across all slots is 90.2%, about 0.05% above the state average.
Parx Casino is part of a huge entertainment complex that was originally a racetrack and expanded over the years. Now, they have slots, video poker, table games, live poker, live and OTB betting, lots of restaurants and food trucks and such, and live shows and other entertainment options. It’s basically a casino resort without a hotel.
There are lots of slots at Parx that aren’t at the other two top Pennsylvania casinos on my list. Specifically, I’m always looking for the Monopoly games at Parx.
The last time I was there, I played SG Gaming’s Monopoly Big Wheel Railroads game. It’s a typical licensed Monopoly game with lots of side games and features – my favorite part is that all wild symbols act as multipliers. I just really enjoy the game; I’ve never had a huge win or anything like that.
Final Thoughts on Slots in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is becoming a favorite place for slots play, though I still think the state has a long way to go to attract slots gamblers from nearby New York and New Jersey. Even Atlantic City’s slot machine RTP figures are better, and there’s not a huge reason to visit PA casinos to play slots. Most of them have smaller gaming floors than nearby gaming destinations and they’re generally behind in technology and amenities.
Still, people visiting the state who like to play slots are happy to see some competition entering the industry and improving gaming options. As new casinos are planned and open, expect the relatively low average RTP for Pennsylvania slots to trend upward.