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Pennsylvania Online Gambling Frequently Asked Questions

It’s been nearly a month since online gambling was passed in Pennsylvania, when it became just 4th state to regulate online gambling.

With online gambling still at least a few months away before players can play, we take a look at some of the more general questions players are having with the landmark Pennsylvania online gambling bill.

What was legalized in the Pennsylvania online gambling bill?

In one full motion, Pennsylvania approved of one of the most comprehensive online gambling bills ever passed in the United States. Not only did the gambling expansion add mini casinos and video gaming terminals at truck stops, it also regulated a variety of gambling activities including:

  • Online poker
  • Online slots and table games
  • Lotteries played online
  • Daily fantasy sports
  • Brick and mortar sports betting if/when sportsbetting is approved at a federal level

What benefits come from the regulation?

Online gambling has been going on since nearly advent of the internet, despite a lack of oversight. Depending on who you ask, the industry has operated in the United States during that period time somewhere between an illegal and grey area.

Regulation by states — which has also been done in much of Europe and elsewhere for over ten years — puts the state’s stamp of approval on the games. Regulation makes the games safer and secure along with additional consumer protections. With regulation, Reputable American companies are able to participate in the market and states are able to add much needed tax revenue to their coffers.

Who can play Pennsylvania online gambling games?

Online gambling in Pennsylvania will be available to people located in Pennsylvania that are at least 21 years of age. Players must also be physically located in the state in order to play. Visitors to the state will be able to play once their identity and location has been verified.

Like other states, Pennsylvania regulators are likely to strictly enforce who is gambling in the state. Triangulation by mobile phone will ensure that players are located in the state of Pennsylvania when they play. In addition, a player will be required to verify their account informing websites they are who they say they are. This will likely include providing a social security number and address.

Who will offer online casinos in Pennsylvania?

The Pennsylvania online gambling bill allows comprehensive licenses (poker, table games, slots) equal to the number of brick and mortar casinos in the state. There are currently 12 in Pennsylvania with a 13th on the way once the organization behind the Philadelphia LIVE casino pays their $50 million slots fee.

Notable casinos in Pennsylvania include Parx Casino, Harrah’s Philadelphia, Rivers and Hollywood Casino.

It is expected that well-known software providers such as 888, PokerStars and partypoker will be among those partnering with casinos and poker rooms in bring online games to players.

We should start to get a feel for the industry players early next year when an initial 90-day licensing deadline passes.

When will online gambling go live in Pennsylvania?

The largest state to go live with online gambling, New Jersey launched in late 2013 approximately 9 months after passing their bill. Given the similarities with that state, it is a good baseline for Pennsylvania, which would put a launch sometime in the middle of 2018. Some industry observers have noted that it could be sometime in the first half of 2018.

What poker rooms will be available to players?

The New Jersey online poker market sustains three main poker networks — PokerStars, 888 and partypoker. With nearly 4 million more people than New Jersey, Pennsylvania will likely see even more.

In New Jersey, we have seen a mix of traditional online gambling brands with existing casinos.

What daily fantasy sports sites will be available in Pennsylvania?

Unlike online poker and online casinos, daily fantasy sports has enjoyed wider acceptance in its 10 or so years in existence. Over the last few years more than a dozen states have officially endorsed DFS while many other states have decided to leave the games alone for now.

In these states, the “old guard” has dominated the regulated market. This includes familiar names such as DraftKings, FanDuel, Yahoo Daily Fantasy and Fantasy Draft, depending on the state.

Will Pennsylvania link up with other states?

Recently, New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware announced that they would be merging liquidity across all three states. It is expected that Pennsylvania will eventually join the 3-state player pool. The benefits from such a move would be far reaching but would be quite impactful to players in other states who rely more on a large player pool for games to run.