Pennsylvania Poker and their Statutes

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania skyline

Update: Feb. 28, 2020 – Online poker is up-and-running in Pennsylvania. The Became the fourth state to legalize online poker in 2017. After that, online poker went live in 2019. The Keystone state now has several poker sites running at full-steam with PokerStars leading the charge. PokerStars even hosted the Pennsylvania Online Poker Championship in November 2019. The series had 10 events and culminated with a $300 buy-in, $125,000 guarantee Main Event.

Similarly, other popular poker sites have partnered with land-based casinos in Pennsylvania. 888Poker and WSOP.com launched a site and Party Poker partnered with MGM and Boyd Gaming. Additionally, several other land-based casinos will eventually provide online gaming too. Therefore, keep your eye on the state as several more sites start popping up.

Online poker is still pretty new in Pennsylvania. But the state has quickly become one of the largest poker markets in the United States. Poker is still growing in Pennsylvania, but one key question remains. Will Pennsylvania join New Jersey, Nevada and other states in a joint player pool?

History of Online Gaming in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is one of the more lenient states when it comes to gambling and its laws. For example, they allow charitable gaming, commercial casinos, pari-mutuel betting and state lottery games. Aside from being lenient, Pennsylvania has a history of expanding gaming. The state has passed several new laws in the last decades to pave the way for this.

For example, casino gaming is relatively new in Pennsylvania. This is thanks to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. The board was created in 2004 and quickly expanded gaming. Subsequently, they licensed slot machines, new casinos and table games.

Also, the state legislature opened up gambling to truck stops, airports, fantasy sports and of course, online poker. Governor Tom Wolf signed bill HB. 271 on Oct. 30, 2017. This made Pennsylvania the fourth state in the United States to legalize online poker.

Regulating Gambling in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has a long history of gaming. They legalized betting at horse tracks a while ago and established the state lottery on August 26, 1971. With that being said, safety and close regulation is a priority.

In 2004, the state legislature passed the Race Horse Development and Gaming Act. That bill legalized electronic slot machines and allowed commercial casinos. In 2010, Governor Ed Rendell signed a law allowing non-electronic table games at casinos. In 2015, Pennsylvania’s casinos generated a record-breaking $3.17 billion in gross revenue. That number keeps rising and the state broke the $3.3 billion mark in 2019.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is the regulating gaming entity in the state. Their goal is to provide safe gaming across the state. Their mission statement reads:

To protect the interest of the public by ensuring the integrity of legalized gaming through the strict enforcement of the law and regulations, the licensing of qualified individuals and entities, and fulfilling the objectives of limited gaming in the Commonwealth to deliver a significant source of revenue, assist the horse racing industry, provide broad economic opportunities and enhance tourism.

Therefore, it’s safe to say Pennsylvania takes regulation seriously.

What About the Rest of Us?

Check out our list of states below to see the current laws in your state:

Specific State-by-State Laws
AlabamaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutGeorgiaIdahoIowaKansasMaineMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMontanaNebraskaNew HampshireNew MexicoNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaOhioOklahomaRhode IslandSouth CarolinaTennesseeVermontWest VirginiaWyoming

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