Up until a few years ago, Pennsylvanians were out of luck when it came to gambling. Not only was there no established online casino network regulated by the state, but even brick and mortar casinos were found few and far between with very few games being offered. At this point, the best option for PA gamblers was to make the sometimes hours long trek to New Jersey and the many casinos that line the Atlantic City strip. Now, New Jersey is suffering to some extend because the casino landscape of Pennsylvania was given a facelift.
Now, whether you live outside Pittsburgh or in the suburbs of Philadelphia, a casino is never too far away. Even for those people who live in the Northern reaches of the state, casinos seem to be popping up everywhere. PA still has some strange laws as it relates to casinos and the games that are played there, but with each passing year the casinos in PA begin to more closely resemble top gambling destinations across the country.
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Is Online Gambling Legal In Pennsylvania?
The state of Pennsylvania, while technically considered to be a Northern state, has long exhibited the more conservative attitude of states from below the Mason-Dixon line. In recent years, however, there seems to be a bit of a liberal takeover. This is exemplified perfectly by how much gambling laws have opened up. While it is now easier to play your favorite casino games in the state, the existence of an intrastate, regulated online casino network is still something that is only being talked about.
Like many other states, Pennsylvania has mulled over the idea of legalizing and regulating online casinos, but up to this point no action has been taken on that front. This may lead you to believe that playing at online casinos in PA is out of the question, nothing could be further from the truth. The fact of the matter is that there are hundreds of online casinos that offer gambling services to players from the state. Unlike Nevada and New Jersey, however, none of these casinos are regulated by the state and all of them are based offshore. So while it may technically be legal to play at PA online casinos, they are not ruled over by the state government, and for some people this is an issue.
The reason the lack of regulation is such a big deal is because there are very little protections for players should any sort of issues arise. In a situation where a player thinks they are being treated unfairly, there is no organization that they can file a complaint with. In a more severe example, a player who has been taken advantage of by an online casino (ie. Having their money stolen) will not be able to go to law enforcement or any other agency in search of getting their money back. Fortunately, most modern online casinos are completely trustworthy and respectable, but the fact that the aforementioned situations can present themselves is something that still scares away so many people.
Legal Status of Brick and Mortar Casinos — Pennsylvania
With more than a dozen brick and mortar casinos existing across the state presently, you would think that Pennsylvania has a long and storied history when it comes to casino gambling. This is simply not the truth. The reality of the matter is that brick and mortar gambling did not really begin to take shape in PA until 2004. It was in this year that the state government allowed for electronic gambling games like slots and video poker to be played at casinos and racinos. This was nice, but for the next half-decade everyone complained about the fact that they could only play specific games at brick and mortar casinos and were still left with New Jersey as the only option for the full casino experience.
Then in 2010, the state moved to legalize table games and other forms of gambling that would allow PA casinos to rival their New Jersey neighbors. Ever since then, PA has established itself as one of the premier East Coast gambling destinations. As time moves on it seems as though more and more brick and mortar casinos are going to pop up, especially in and around major cities such as Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia.
In 2016, a law was passed that mane PA casinos able to serve alcohol at all hours of the day. This may not seem like the biggest change to the way in which casinos function in the state, but it really is. Now, players do not have to travel to New Jersey to be able to drink while they play their favorite games. Before this law was passed, the only place where you could drink alcohol at an online casino at any time of the day or night was Atlantic City. As we move forward, Pennsylvania is looking more and more like it will overtake New Jersey as the top East Coast gambling destination. This is especially true when you consider that massive population centers like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are slowly but surely upping their offering.
Even with the expansion of brick and mortar gambling in Pennsylvania, online casinos still seem to be the best way for people to gamble. As is the case with many other states, large expanses of the state are covered in forests and mountains, and this rough terrains means that a lot of people are left on the outside looking in when it comes to brick and mortar gambling.
Pennsylvania Online Casinos & Gambling FAQ
- Abbreviation: PA
- State Motto: Virtue, Liberty, and Independence
- Capital City: Harrisburg
- Population Estimate: 12.8 million (5th)
- Website: http://www.pa.gov/
Are there legalized and regulated online casinos in Pennsylvania?
Up to this point, the state government of Pennsylvania has not acted on any legislation that would allow for the creation of a regulated intrastate online casino network. While there are talks surrounding this issue, nothing has come to fruition quite yet.
Can I bet on sports at PA online casinos?
Yes, most every online casino that offers its services to residents of Pennsylvania also allows you to bet on sports. Unfortunately, betting on sports online is your only option in the state seeing as PA does not allow you to make sports bets at brick and mortar casinos.
What type of bonuses are offered by Pennsylvania online casinos?
This depends upon the specific casino you are trying to play at, but the fact of the matter is that most online casinos offer a plethora of bonuses aimed at players who sign up and make a deposit. These afford you the opportunity to make the most of your initial deposit.
Will intrastate casinos ever become a reality?
This is difficult to answer, but the future does look promising. The state has already talked about establishing an intrastate system, but they have not acted on it yet. There is a large contingent, however, that thinks intrastate casinos are soon going to become a reality.