Legal Pennsylvania Online Poker Sites
Early in its history, Pennsylvania gained prominence in many fields — it was the birthplace of Benjamin Franklin, the scene of numerous revolutionary battles, and the home to the US’s first hospital and computer. However, gambling wasn’t its strongest suit for a good chunk of its past. Namely, thanks to the state’s gambling-averse authorities, PA stand-alone casinos didn’t open before 2004. Even then, they were limited to slot machines. In fact, Pennsylvania only legalized poker and other popular table games six years later.
Fortunately, the Keystone State lawmakers changed their ways in the following years. PA passed an online gambling bill in preparation for the 2018 Supreme Court’s annulment of the sports betting federal ban. The state became the fourth US state to legalize iGaming, providing its poker fans with plenty of opportunities to pursue their hobby. For more information about the PA online poker scene, read on.
Is Online Poker Legal in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania’s debut into the world of gambling started with the basics — horse racing, lottery, and bingo. Horse racing was introduced in 1959 when the government passed the Race Horse Industry Reform Act. A few years later, the first land-based racetracks opened their doors to visitors, starting with The Meadows Racetrack in Washington.
Lottery and bingo joined the mix in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Although both categories proved incredibly lucrative, the authorities weren’t interested in further gambling expansion at that time. A new breakthrough only occurred in 2004, after PA lawmakers enacted the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act. This legislation was part of gubernatorial candidate Ed Rendell’s political campaign, intending to bring tax relief to the state. It granted Keystone residents their first gambling venues, though only with slot machines available.
Table games, including poker, weren’t legal in Pennsylvania until 2010. They caught the interest of lawmakers for the same reasons slots did. The state was looking for a way to offset the growing budget deficit and rising property taxes. Governor Rendell signed the table games bill at the start of the year, making Pennsylvania a state with one of the highest gaming revenues in the US. After that, the approval of gambling legislation went much smoother.
The topic of online gambling legalization first came up in this state in 2013. Nevertheless, Pennsylvania remained silent even after states like New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware signed their iGaming legislation that same year. Its official online poker legalization was enacted as part of the Truck Stop and Satellite Casino Bill in 2017, and the first state-licensed real-money online poker rooms were launched two years later.
If you’re interested in playing poker in Pennsylvania, familiarizing yourself with its gambling laws is a must.
The legal documents we’ve linked below are an excellent place to start.
Read on, and don’t forget to make some notes!
- Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act
- 2010 Table Games Bill
- 2017 Truck Stop and Satellite Casino Bill
Best Legal Poker Rooms in Pennsylvania
After an overview of PA’s legal poker landscape, we can move on to the gambling options this state currently offers. Continue reading to learn more about land-based and online poker rooms available in Pennsylvania.
Legal Online Poker in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania was somewhat of a late bloomer when it came to land-based gambling, including poker. However, it made up for it once iGaming became a reality. As mentioned, the state legalized all forms of online gambling, passing the Truck Stop and Satellite Casino Bill in 2017. This legislation authorized casino brands to apply for state licenses and offer a wide variety of games to their residents and visitors.
Keystone State got its first state-licensed real-money poker rooms in 2019. Eight of them are already available, and a few more are waiting for their licenses to get approved. Still, these sites aren’t the only places with online poker games in Pennsylvania. Namely, PA players had two more options at their disposal long before the state legalized online gambling — sweepstakes and offshore online casinos.
Sweepstakes and social gaming sites are online platforms that host a range of casino-style games, including poker. They were legal before iGaming came to Pennsylvania because of their no-purchase-necessary business model. These platforms do not take a rake or organize games and tournaments with real-money gameplay. They operate using a virtual currency called casino credits, which makes them legal across most of the US.
On the other hand, PA offshore poker sites follow a more traditional format. They offer poker cash games and tournaments you can play for real money. At first glance, they appear similar to the state-licensed poker rooms discussed above. However, they outperform these sites on several levels — they’re available in and outside Pennsylvania, feature heftier bonuses, and host various poker variants.
My list of the best US poker sites which I consider to be the best rooms to play in 2023:
- BetOnline Poker
- Ignition Poker
- Everygame Poker
- Juicy Stakes Poker
- ACR Poker
- Bovada Poker
- BlackChip Poker
- SportsBetting Poker
100% Legal & Licensed Verified Bonus Mobile Friendly Advertiser Disclosure. Must be +18 to participate.
Legal Land-Based Poker in Pennsylvania
While it offers land-based gambling, Pennsylvania isn’t exactly a brick-and-mortar casino mecca. Most US states opened their first gambling venues following the Senate’s enactment of the Indian Regulatory Gaming Act in 1988. However, Pennsylvania was not one of them. Having no federally-recognized Native American tribes, the Keystone State was left behind. PA players had to wait 16 years for casino-friendly legislation, plus 6 more for the first poker room.
Today, Pennsylvania boasts 5 land-based casinos scattered throughout its territory, and they all feature live poker games (though in different capacities). Check out the sections below to learn more about them.
How to Register at a Legal Online Poker Site in PennsylvaniaIf you’ve decided to give PA online poker rooms a try, the world is your oyster. Check out all your options, consider their offering, and choose the one that fits your preferences best. The following step-by-step guide will help you get started once you’ve made up your mind.
Choose A Poker RoomUse the links in our top offshore poker room list above to visit the gambling site of your choice and start the registration process.
SignupFind the Sign Up button on the homepage. Fill in the blank spaces providing information from your valid, government-issued ID. Ensure the data is correct and submit your request.
Open your email or check your phone inbox for messages from the poker room. Find the personalized verification code and copy it into your clipboard. Return to your online poker room’s login page and paste the numbers into the designated field. Don’t stall too much, as these codes usually expire within a few minutes.
Deposit & PlayLog in to your account using your credentials and browse the site.
Look for the Cashier or Payment section and visit it to check out your banking options. Scroll through all available deposit methods and consider their limits, processing times, and other features. Choose the one with optimal terms for players from Pennsylvania. Enter the amount you’d like to transfer — just make sure you’re following the welcome bonus T&C.
Navigate to the Promotions section and learn about the poker sites’s current welcome bonus incentives. Remember to make notes about these promotions’ qualifying minimum deposit, payment methods, games, and wagering requirements rules. Have them in mind as you explore other features of the site.
Wait for the deposit to clear and money to appear in your account balance. Head to the gaming library or tournament section and examine the offer. Don’t be afraid to dig in deeper — try out games in demo mode, read through the poker competition rules, and contact customer support with specific questions. Pick the gaming option that appeals most to you, and enjoy your journey.
Land-Based Casinos With Live Poker
Pennsylvania offers five land-based commercial casinos. Most feature standard poker rooms with several live dealer versions of this casino classic. The number of tables varies between 12 and 60, depending on your chosen venue. Hollywood and Rivers Casino in Grantville and Pittsburgh are the biggest and most-visited.
PA brick-and-mortar poker rooms host multiple poker variations. As you’d expect, Texas Hold’em and Omaha are the most common, but you’ll also find niche options like 3-Card Poker, Mississippi Stud, Pai Gow, and so on.
For your convenience, we’ve attached a list of all Pennsylvania land-based poker rooms below. Feel free to look through it, use the links to visit their official sites, and copy the addresses of the ones that pique your interest.
- Lady Luck Casino at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort — 4067 National Pike, Farmington, PA 15437
- Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course — 777 Hollywood Blvd., Grantville, PA 17028
- Meadows Casino — 210 Racetrack Rd., Washington, PA 15301
- Rivers Casino Pittsburgh — 77 Casino Dr., Pittsburgh, PA 15212
- Harrah’s Philadelphia — 777 Harrah’s Blvd., Chester, PA 19013