Pennsylvania is the fourth state to offer regulated online poker. Players in the Keystone State are currently only able to play on PokerStars PA but more operators are expected to launch by early 2020.
This page contains a wealth of information that players in Pennsylvania will find useful, including the history of online poker in their state, current operators, land-based poker rooms, and an in-depth FAQ.
Pennsylvania Online Poker Sites
Seven land-based casino operators have been approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to offer online poker inside state borders. Each of the physical casinos will either partner with an established software provider or expand a network they already have in operation, either in the United States or elsewhere in the world.
In November 2019, PokerStars PA, through a partnership with Mount Airy Casino, became the first site to launch.
Each of the seven casino operators paid $10 million to apply for an interactive license with the PGCB to offer poker and casino games. Along with the PokerStars/Mount Airy partnership, two other world-class online poker companies have agreements in place with Pennsylvania casinos:
- Party Poker/BetMGM – Valley Forge Casino
- WSOP.com/888 poker – Harrah’s Philadelphia
The other four casinos which are licensed have yet to announce their software providers. They are:
- Parx Casino
- Hollywood Casino at Penn National
- SugarHouse Casino
- Sands Bethlehem
Three other casinos, Live! Philadelphia Casino, Presque Isle Downs Casino, and Mohegan Sun Pocono have each applied for interactive licenses but have not yet been approved to offer online poker.
Of the seven casinos, six have strategic partnerships or available technology to launch in the state. Three of the providers will have the ability to expand their network through shared player pools with their own sites in other regulated states should Pennsylvania enter into a liquidity sharing agreement with those states’ regulatory bodies.
In August 2018, PokerStars announced a partnership with Mount Airy Casino Resort so they could expand their U.S. footprint. The pairing brought together the largest online poker room in the world with Pennsylvania’s smallest live poker room. However, the partnership was important to PokerStars as it will be the first opportunity for the company to create a shared player pool network if they are able to merge PA with their already established New Jersey online room.
On November 4, 2019, PokerStars PA entered into a two-day soft launch period before being granted final approval from the PGCB for a full launch beginning on November 6.
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Already the largest poker network in the United States as the only operator with a presence in Nevada and New Jersey, the Caesars Entertainment-owned WSOP.com will launch its brand in Pennsylvania through a partnership with another Caesars Entertainment property, Harrah’s Philadelphia. The live poker room at Harrah’s Philadelphia is branded as a WSOP poker room.
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888 poker PA
As the software provider for WSOP.com in Nevada and New Jersey and for the three operating sites in Delaware, 888 poker already has a strong foothold in the United States. Industry insiders expect them to follow the model they currently use in New Jersey which sees a WSOP.com branded room and an 888 poker-branded room share a player pool.
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Party Poker & BetMGM
It would be a natural fit for Party Poker to have a footprint in Pennsylvania allowing them to join WSOP.com, 888 poker, and PokerStars in creating a multi-state network for their players. In partnership with the Valley Forge Casino, Party Poker is expected to be one of the next operators to launch in Pennsylvania with some suggesting it could come as early as January 2020. Valley Forge Casino is owned by Boyd Gaming which has a strategic agreement in place nationwide with GVC, the parent company of Party Poker.
In New Jersey, the Party Poker shares a network with BetMGM and BorgataPoker.com and the expectation is that BetMGM, which already offers sports betting in Pennsylvania, will be a skin on a Party Poker-powered network.
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Parx Casino is one of the state’s leader in live poker boasting the largest poker room in Pennsylvania with 48 tables. Even though they do not yet have an online poker room with an already established brand as a partner, they do have their own well-established name in the state which should make Parx PA online poker a popular choice with local players.
They also have a technology partnership with GAN and Kambi that will help them build out every aspect of their online gaming strategy. Get ready fo
Like Parx Casino, Hollywood Casino does not have a brand name software provider, but they do have a well-established technology partner in IGT. IGT not only has expertise in online slot machines, but they also have a relatively new online poker platform that is currently being used for all of Canada’s state-run poker sites.
SugarHouse Casino has a natural online gaming partner in their own parent company of Rush Street Gaming (producers of the televised poker show Poker Night In America).
Rush Street Interactive had a head start over some of the competition when it came to online gambling outside of poker, as they already have that technology up and running in New Jersey. Get the details of our SugarHouse PA promo code.
Sands Bethlehem does not have an announced partnership but is likely to be sold to the Poarch Band of Creek Indians within the year and the application for an interactive gaming license was conditional to the sale.
Pennsylvania Online Poker History
On November 4, 2019, history was made in the state of Pennsylvania as the first hand of regulated online poker was dealt on PokerStars PA. That day marked the end of over two years of waiting following Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s signing of Bill H 271 which legalized online poker, sports betting, daily fantasy sports, and interactive casino games in the state.
This made Pennsylvania the fourth state to regulate online poker, joining Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware, which all passed bills in 2013. In early 2014, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and his counterpart from Delaware signed an agreement that allowed players from their respective states to play against each other. New Jersey joined that interstate compact in 2018. Pennsylvania has yet to join this pact and is currently a ring-fenced state.
The movement towards regulating online gaming, including poker, in Pennsylvania, began in 2013 when gaming officials began looking into the legal and regulatory requirements. In 2014 the PA Senate commissioned a study on the issue of online gambling and legislation was considered in 2014 and again in 2015 but it stayed in the arena of continued conversation through the end of 2016. In 2017, facing a budget deficit, the Pennsylvania government moved forward with the legislation that eventually became H 271.
Once legislation passed, many in the industry thought that the state would begin to offer online poker either by the end of 2018 or in the first quarter of 2019, however the US Department of Justice issued a new opinion on January 24, 2019, that stated that the Wire Act applied to every type of online gambling, not just sports betting. This opinion, if enforced, would consider all online gambling illegal.
The new opinion caused a delay in the launch of online poker in Pennsylvania. The PGCB allowed operators time to digest the opinion and examine their plan moving forward. Online sports betting in Pennsylvania was first offered in June 2019 with online casinos coming online beginning on July 15, 2019.
PA Online Poker Deposit & Withdrawal Options
Regulation means that depositing and withdrawing funds is far less risky than pre-Black Friday and includes many of the common payment methods people use to purchase goods online.
Visa/Mastercard – Available as a deposit method only, players can use their Visa or MasterCard to make deposits. Any withdrawals will usually be processed via check or bank transfer.
eCheck – Transferring directly to and from your bank account is one of the most popular methods of funding an account. Most online operators will allow you to pre-verify all banking information to make the process quicker and easier.
Pre-paid Credit Card – These cards are available for purchase in most grocery and convenience stores and can be used to get money onto a site quickly when credit cards or eChecks are not an option.
Casino Cashier Cage – Thanks to their required partnerships with land-based casinos, most online poker operators in the United States have an option to walk up to the cashier cage at the casino and deposit cash directly into your account.
PayNearMe – The PayNearMe option is available at 7-Eleven stores in Pennsylvania and allows players to use cash to deposit online. Players get a barcoded PaySlip from their online casino and then go to any 7-Eleven with the PayNearMe service and present both the PaySlip and the cash for an instant transfer of funds to the online account.
Skrill – An electronic wallet designed specifically for working with online gaming operators, Skrill gives players the fastest way to manage a bankroll while transferring money from one online poker site to another.
PayPal – One of the most popular electronic money transfer services in existence, PayPal began working with regulated online poker sites in 2013 and remains a convenient choice for some players.
Pennsylvania Online Poker Bonuses & Promo Codes
Players signing up a new account at any of the poker sites in Pennsylvania can expect to have a decent number of options for a sign-up bonus.
Free Play Requiring No Deposit – Many online poker operators offer a no-deposit bonus that allows players to try out the software before depositing. These bonuses range from multi-table tournament or sit-n-go tickets to cash bonuses that allow the player to play ring games or tournaments. These bonuses often have a high turnover required before they can be withdrawn.
Initial Deposit Bonus – Players making their first deposit can expect to have a minimum 100% match bonus on that deposit. These bonuses are typically capped at somewhere between $600 and $1,000 and each site will have requirements for how the bonus is earned.
Reload Bonus – Operators occasionally offer players the chance to earn an additional bonus for reloading their accounts. These will also have a playthrough requirement.
Live Poker in Pennsylvania
There are plenty of live poker options for players to choose from in the state of Pennsylvania. There are more than 10 properties that offer a variety of cash games as well as a full slate of tournaments.
- Harrah’s Philadelphia – 28 tables full of cash games with regularly run tournaments. Previously hosted WSOP Circuit events.
- Hollywood Casino at Penn National – A full offering of cash games and tournaments in a 17-table room.
- The Meadows Racetrack & Casino – A 16-table poker room with cash games and twice-daily tournaments.
- Mohegan Sun Pocono – The room provides 18 tables worth of cash games and daily tournaments.
- Mount Airy Casino – One of the smaller rooms with nine total tables.
- Parx Casino – The largest poker room in the state with 48 tables and some of the biggest tournaments of the year.
- Presque Isle Downs – A seven-table room that has operating hours starting at 10 AM daily.
- Rivers Casino-Pittsburgh – One of the larger rooms in the state with 30 tables of action.
- Sands Casino – A large 30-table poker room.
- SugarHouse Casino – The 28-table room is home to Poker Night In America.
PA Online Poker FAQ’s
Is online poker legal in Pennsylvania?
Yes. In 2017, Pennsylvania passed a bill that has cleared the way for regulated online poker to begin. Online operators have applied for state licenses and a number of them have been granted. The first site, PokerStars PA, went live in November 2019 with more expected to follow suit in early 2020.
Which sites will be running in PA?
Seven casinos have been approved to provide online poker. PokerStars is the only site currently operating, but Party Poker and WSOP.com should be operational soon. Other operators, including Parx Casino, SugarHouse Casino, and Hollywood Casino may announce offerings in the future.
Can I play on Pennsylvania sites even if I don’t live in the state?
Yes, however, you will need to be physically inside the state of Pennsylvania when you play. You do not need to establish residence as a player’s location is determined by geolocation tools. When you are in the state of PA, you will be able to play on any regulated site.
What payment methods will be available?
It is in the best interest of every operator to make every available deposit and withdrawal method available to their customers. Standard deposit options include credit cards, e-wallets and, in some cases, even wire transfers.
Which poker games are available online?
Every online operator will be allowed to offer whatever poker games their customer base is most interested in but one can generally expect No Limit Hold’em as the staple of the offerings. Both cash games and tournaments are also regularly offered and many sites include Sit & Gos in their lobbies as well.
Will other online gaming be available in PA?
The legislation was a complete regulation of all online gaming activities, not restricted to poker. Casinos, through partnerships with online operators, can now offer traditional online casino games (slots, blackjack, etc), sports betting, daily fantasy sports, as well as poker.
Who can I play poker within PA?
At the present time, players in the state are only able to play against other players from Pennsylvania. However, as demonstrated in other states such as New Jersey and Nevada, agreements have been made that allow players in other states to play against one another. Many believe that Pennsylvania officials may look to make a similar agreement, extending the United States player pool to include Pennsylvania in a multi-state pact.
Can I play poker with players from all over the world?
No, players in the United States are currently prohibited from playing with players outside of the U.S. If Pennsylvania joins the current coalition of states that are currently sharing a player pool, then PA players will be able to play with and against players from the other states where the game is legalized.
Do I have to download anything in order to play online poker?
While there are some sites that operate directly in a browser, the majority of poker sites require the downloading and installation of a poker client which they continue to keep updated with the latest upgrades and offerings.
What are loyalty programs?
Nearly all sites offer their customers loyalty programs that provide rewards for playing on their site. A player will earn points in every real money cash game that is raked and every tournament that takes a fee. These points are then able to be redeemed for items such as tournament tickets, consumer goods and sometimes even cashback.
What is a deposit bonus?
A deposit bonus is given by the online operator as an incentive for players to make their first deposit on their site. Often they will match a player’s deposit up to a certain amount and then release the bonus in increments as the player plays on their site.