The Biggest Questions Players Have About PA Online Gambling

Pennsylvania officially became the fourth US state to legalize online gambling when it passed a comprehensive gambling expansion bill in October 2017.

Legal and regulated online gambling is coming to PA. However, there are still a lot of unanswered questions potential players may have. Here’s a look at the top ten biggest questions players have about PA online gambling:

10. How is online gaming legal in PA?

In December 2011, the US Department of Justice released a legal opinion that Federal Wire Act only applies to sports betting. This paved the way for individual states to begin to consider online lottery sales, and ultimately online poker and online casino games.

Up until October 2017, only Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey had passed online gambling legislation. In fact, these are the only states that have opened up legal and regulated online gambling markets.

Pennsylvania became the fourth US state to legalize online gambling in October 2017. The state began the process of accepting applications for table game, slots, and online poker licenses at that time. Once the licenses are issued and online gambling sites get up and running, they will be required to ensure all players are of legal age and inside state lines when playing.

9. How can I get money on and off of legal PA online gambling sites?

Online gambling is perfectly legal inside Pennsylvania. As a result, we expect that banking with these sites will be fast and easy.

The experience in other states like New Jersey has proven that major credit cards, financial institutions and online payment processors are all willing to handle online gambling transactions for their customers.

PA online casino licenses are being offered to PA casinos first. In fact, those that do open and run online gambling sites are expected to allow patrons to do their online gambling banking at the casino cage.

Here’s a list of a number of other deposit and withdraw options expected to be available at PA online casinos:

  • E-check
  • Online bank transfers
  • 7-Eleven Pay Near Me
  • Neteller
  • Cash at the cage
  • Visa/MasterCard prepaid card
  • PayPal

8. What games are available?

In PA the online gambling licenses are split into three categories:

  1. Online table games
  2. Online slots
  3. Online poker

Essentially, this means the operators are going to have a choice in what they offer. However, you can expect to find electronic versions of all the same table games you might find in a traditional brick and mortar casino. Blackjack, roulette, and craps will all be there.

In addition to a few exclusive online slot titles, you can expect to find all your favorite slots as well. There will be progressive jackpot slots. Plus, you’ll see the same branded and exciting bonus game slots you see on the floor of most PA casinos.

Additionally, the sites that offer online poker should offer a variety of different poker variants at different stakes. There will be tournaments and cash games.

7. Who owns the PA online casinos?

The state’s existing 12 casinos are being offered the chance apply for a license to operate online table games, online slots, and online poker first. In fact, PA casinos can apply for a license for all three that will cost $10 million. PA casinos are also welcome to apply for any of the three separately. These licenses will cost $4 million each.

If any of the 36 available licenses remain unclaimed following the first 90-day period they are offered, companies outside of the existing 12 Pennsylvania casinos will be allowed to apply for them.

6. Where does the money go?

Casinos are a for-profit business. In fact, it would be hard for us to determine where all the money goes. What we can tell you is that lawmakers heavily debated tax rates for online gambling operators in the lead-up to the passage of the law. Ultimately, PA lawmakers settled on the very same tax rates brick and mortar casinos in the state are already paying.

This includes:

  • 54 percent for online slots
  • 16 percent for online poker
  • 16 percent for online table games

This means a good percentage of the money you gamble with online in PA will always go to the state.

5. Can I earn comps at PA casinos playing online?

The state’s 12 casinos will have the opportunity to apply for online gambling licenses first. In fact, several have already expressed an interest in doing so. Most of these casinos are hoping online gambling will help the traditional brick and mortar business.

As a result, you can expect to see several crossover promotions in PA attempting to draw players both online and off. Plus, it’s also logical to think a good number of PA casinos that offer online gambling will want to make the transition between their traditional player rewards programs and the online version a seamless one.

4. Can I play from anywhere in the country?

The short answer is no. PA online casinos will be required by law to ensure all players on the sites are located inside state lines when they’re playing for real money. They will use geolocation software to make sure of it. Sites will let visitors from out-of-state play the games in demo mode.

Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey recently struck an agreement to share online poker player pools between all three states. Plus, online gambling laws in Pennsylvania will allow for the state to join that agreement in the future. This would mean you could be playing in the same poker games in all four states. But for now, it’s PA only.

3. Are there safeguards to prevent children from playing?

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is taking over administration of online gambling in the state. It is committed to preventing underage gambling online and off.

In fact, the sites will use an ID verification process to ensure no one under 21 can gamble with them. The sites will also employ various online security professionals to prevent fraud and underage gambling.

2. Are PA online casino games fair?

You won’t be able to hold the cards, pick new dice, or examine a roulette wheel, to the same extent you might inside a land-based casino. However, the casinos games on offer at PA online casinos will be just as safe and fair.

In fact, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will license and regulate PA online casinos. Therefore, the games will be subject to testing procedures ensuring fairness.

Online casino games use random number generators to ensure the random nature of each card dealt, dice rolled or roulette wheel spun. This is the similar to the way the dealers, pit staff, and casino equipment manufacturers do it at land-based casinos.

Plus, most online casinos in PA will be operating under gaming licenses of land-based casinos in the state. This will ensure the same level of integrity live and online.

1. Is my personal information safe?

PA online gambling sites will take security very seriously. As such, you can expect your privacy and personal information to be protected by state-of-the-art encryption software.

About The Author

Martin Derbyshire

Martin Derbyshire has more than ten years of experience reporting on the poker, online gambling, and land-based casino industries for a variety of publications including Bluff Magazine, PokerNews, and PokerListings. He has traveled extensively, attending tournaments and interviewing major players in the gambling world.

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