It wasn’t long after neighboring state New Jersey legalized online gambling that Pennsylvania realized how the industry could benefit them. Indeed, the Garden State may have started the revolution, but PA was one of the first to ride the wave of changes. And because the Keystone State was quick to act, the PA online casino industry is booming today. And, of course, the tax it generates is a welcome addition to the state’s coffer, which residents enjoy its benefits nowadays.
Sure it may have taken the Governors several attempts (or referendums if you prefer) to make online casino PA a reality. But, it’s after Pennsylvanians were reassured that the crime wouldn’t rise because publicly listed companies were behind it that a bill was drafted and signed. Today, Pennsylvania Online Casinos are thriving. Plus, they’re critical to the economy since the gambling industry (online and offline) employs over 33,000 people.
A time-lapse of Pennsylvania Online Casinos
Sure, Pennsylvania Online Casinos are now legal. Yet, there were several trials at legalizing them before Bill HB 271. And its 900 pages were signed and agreed upon on October 30th, 2017.
The truth is, if it wasn’t for the events below, there are few chances that Pennsylvania Online Casinos would exist today. So, let’s look back in time to find out how the law evolved. And what else prompted this change of mind besides New Jersey legalizing the online gambling industry, of course. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor was the PA online casino industry.
The 2 bills that changed the PA online casino scene
If it was not for Act 71, which passed in 2004, today’s Pennsylvania Online Casinos couldn’t exist. It’s in 2004 that the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) was founded. Today, this watchdog is in charge of issuing online gambling licenses for Pennsylvania Online Casinos, game distributors, and platform providers. In other words, the PGCB is the authority that audits all Pennsylvania Online Casinos before they go live. And it’s also the regulator that patrons can go to, to debate issues with an online casino PA.
But let’s not forget about bill HB 1235 and house representative Tina Davis who proposed it. Although this bill never came into effect. It was one of the first attempts at legalizing Pennsylvania Online Casinos. And in a certain way, it’s a core fundament of bill HB 271. There were, of course, more attempts at legalizing the sector. But these bills pave the way.
The rise of Pennsylvania Online Casinos
To say that the rise of Pennsylvania Online Casinos wasn’t straightforward is an understatement. In fact, the house couldn’t agree on how much tax operators would need to pay per product vertical. And nor could they decide on how much to charge for a gambling license. Plus, several counties in the keystone state refuse to be home to any casinos, even mini ones. Then there were important figures on the offline gambling scene, such as Sheldon Adelson (ex-CEO of Sands Bethlehem), who was against legalizing Pennsylvania Online Casinos.
What’s more, at the same time as potential Pennsylvania Online Casinos were making the headlines, another battle was taking place in the USA. This time it was the Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) that had to be reviewed. Before PASPA was overturned, there were heavy rumors it would. It’s believed that these prompted the Keystone State to agree on HB 271.
Existing Pennsylvania Online Casinos are making new friends, and they’re expanding
As for all states in the rejuvenation stage, PA is making many new friends thanks to the online gambling industry. For instance, in January 2021, the online gambling giant, Bally, announced it would build a satellite casino worth around $120 million in collaboration with private equity firm tycoon and businessman Ira Lubert. Before this, other companies such as Penn National, Mount Airy Casino, Parx Casino have also announced that they too would build satellite casinos. Or expand their existing venues in various areas such as York, Morgantown, and Beaver County.
What’s more, Pennsylvania Online Casinos are also attracting European investors such as Unibet, Flutter (PokerStars, Betfair, and FanDuel), and 888, to name a few.
Without a doubt, because New Jersey and Pennsylvania share borders, we’re only starting to witness a European migration. So, it makes sense for iGaming Tech companies to invest in the area.
Why online casino PA market is vital for many companies
Because the laws surrounding Pennsylvania Online Casinos are somewhat flexible and allow operators to offer online casinos, online poker, and sports betting. The product diversity the market offers is critical for operators who bank on several verticals to entertain patrons. And, of course, keep them too.
But let’s not forget that the keystone state is the first more significant territory to legalize online gambling today. Indeed, the latest population survey indicates that over 13,002,700 million folks live in PA. Compared with 9.2 million in NJ, 994,735 in DE, 10,077,331 million in MI. And 1,784,787 in WV. But let’s not forget that the Wire Act helps Pennsylvania Online Casinos too. Indeed, because the Wire Act prevents wagers over any form of wire communication. As a result, Evolution needs to open live casino studios to offer blackjack in PA to keep their strong market lead.
Pennsylvania Online Casinos – trendsetters even today…
Although the September 2019 auction did not attract any bidder who could fork out $7.5 million to get a mini-casino license at first. The way the licenses are awarded is so unique that Pennsylvania set new trends when authorizing online gambling on its turf.
Another unique thing is how Pennsylvania Online Casinos pay taxes. In fact, in other states, the tax on slots and table games is equal. However, PA operators need to pay 54% on online slots, 34% on sportsbooks, and 16% on table games. So, this means that PA was one of the first to consider the house edge in its taxation structure. And that’s trendsetting, some say.
What games can you play online in PA?
Long before Pennsylvania Online Casinos became a reality, it’s worth noting that patrons could visit race track websites to play slots in fun mode. But today, folks can spice things up by wagering on online games or by betting on their team to win even on the go. While some areas of the online gambling scene aren’t legal in PA yet, such as eSports, for example. Daily Fantasy Sport is. And so is online poker and live dealer table games such as Videopoker, Baccarat, Roulette, Blackjack, etc.
There is indeed no shortage of games to play in Pennsylvania Online Casinos. But more importantly, life-changing amounts to win. Did you know that NetEnt’s online progressive slots are often making six figures jackpot winners? So, maybe you want to try them the next time you see the jackpot climbing.
Which studios distribute games in Pennsylvania?
As of today, there are over 14 game studios that distribute their titles in Pennsylvania Online Casinos. Notably, NetEnt, Red Tiger, NextGen, Lightning Box, Scientific Games, and Everi lead the modern video slot genre.
When it comes to classic games, video poker, and RNG strategy games, patrons are driven to IGT and Shuffle Masters titles. One company, Evolution Gaming, leads the Live dealer category. By the way, Evolution also owns NetEnt, Red Tiger, Big Time Gaming, and Ezugi. 2020 marked the beginning of a new strategy for them. So expect them to buy even more studios as they grow.
Even more great games coming soon?
Now it’s true that if you compare the online content available in PA with larger markets such as the UK, for example. You’ll see that a few big names are missing from the party. Yet, Playtech, Reel Play, H5G, and WMS may already be available when you read this article. But their games weren’t available at the time of writing this piece. The industry is in constant motion. And big names want a slice of the action. So browse around if you’re looking to play a specific title. Or even better, request it to the customer care support. You can also follow blackjack.me news. Indeed, we often report on new studios that get transactional waivers. So, you’ll always know what games are new if you follow us.
Do you have to pay tax on your online winnings in Pennsylvania Online Casinos?
As you may already know, there is a 25% federal tax applicable to all casino winnings, even those online. And remember that if you don’t have a Social Security Number (SSN). Or opt not to give it to the casino. You may have to pay up to 28% to the federal government on your winnings.
Another thing that you may find interesting is that Pa has the lowest tax (3.07%) on most online wins, excluding sweepstakes. Indeed, winning over $5,000 on any sweepstakes means you’ll have to fork out 24% to the taxmen. Lastly, if you want to declare any slots or sportsbook winnings to the IRS or the State of PA, you’ll need to file a PA-40 Schedule T form. Or, if you won big on the lottery, it’s a PA-40 form you’ll need to complete. But remember the lucky numbers because you’ll need to enter them in the form.