Pennsylvania Casinos & Gambling

Pennsylvania has a large number of casinos, though a lot of them are different than the casinos you would find in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Some casinos are an extension of a horse or dog racing track, while others exist as a casino and resort destination. With changes to the way casinos and gambling were able to function in the state being made in the middle of 2010, the casino and gaming atmosphere in Pennsylvania is growing and changing quickly. Pennsylvania online gambling is legal as of 2018.

Pennsylvania Casinos

Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack
Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course
The Meadows Racetrack & Casino
Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin
Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs
Mount Airy Casino Resort
Parx Casino/Philadelphia Park Racetrack
Presque Isle Downs Casino
The Rivers Casino
Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem
SugarHouse Casino
Valley Forge Casino Resort

Gambling in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is currently transitioning from prohibiting gambling to regulating it. After 2013, PA began to rapidly open casinos across the state but has yet to legalize table games. Any establishment with a liquor license may legally operate the games of chance defined as legal by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), including video poker.

Some of the most popular casinos in Pennsylvania include:

Since the legalization of casinos in Pennsylvania is still fresh, all of the state’s gambling establishments benefit from the perks of modern construction. Players looking to gamble from home can use our list of recommended Pennsylvania online casinos. These offshore casinos also offer table games – online Blackjack, Roulette, and Craps.

Pennsylvania residents may legally own and operate an antique slot machine older than 25 years within their private residence as long as they don’t generate revenue from it.

Types of Casinos

In Pennsylvania, there are a few different types of casinos, some are full casinos, and some are run by Native American tribes, while others offer a resort experience that bases its theme on more attractions than the casino alone.

Full Casinos

Full casinos are exactly what their name implies, a casino with every type of table game and slot imaginable. These casinos are often accompanied by a hotel and other amenities and labeled as a resort. As opposed to places like racetracks, full casinos center their business around the casino only, often offering many more slots and a wider variety of table games than dog or horse tracks. Standalone casinos refer to a casino that does not have all the amenities of a casino and resort, meaning they are usually lacking things like a hotel, spa, and shops.


Racinos are another name for dog or horse tracks which also offer some slots and table games. Since racinos concentrate on dog or horse racing more so than the casino aspect, you can expect to find a much less diverse offering of games than you would expect to find at a full casino. Nonetheless, games like Texas Hold’em poker, Craps and Blackjack can be found in abundance at many Pennsylvania racinos.

Native American Casinos

Some casinos in Pennsylvania, such as Mohegan Sun, are owned by Native Americans and operate on Native American reservations. With that being said, apart from the fact that these casinos are on reservation land they do not differ greatly from any other full casino.

Pennsylvania Sportsbooks & Betting

Although sports betting isn’t legal in Pennsylvania yet, this is likely to change soon. In late 2017, Governor Tom Wolf agreed to sign a bill (HB 271) approving the legalization of sports gambling once it’s permitted on the federal level.

With the 2018 Supreme Court decision allowing states to pass their own sports betting laws, the final legislation needed for legalization in Pennsylvania began pushing its way through the various processes required to implement sports gambling. State Representative Rob Matzie hopes sports betting will be legalized by the end of 2018.

eSports and fantasy gambling

Pennsylvania law does not include any special exemptions or definitions for electronic (eSports) gambling, placing it in the same category as traditional sports gambling. Once sports gaming is legalized, eSports gaming will be legal too – unless an additional clause prohibiting it is added to the bill.

The same bill signed by Tom Wolf also legalized fantasy sports and daily fantasy sports (DFS) gambling in Pennsylvania, making it the 17th state to provide legal DFS. HB271 outlined the licensing structure for operators, instilled regulations for customer protections, and set the tax rate on all fantasy gambling operators at 15%. Players located in Pennsylvania can currently access popular DFS websites such as DraftKings and FanDuel.

Animal racing

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is also responsible for the regulation and taxation of horse race betting. So far, the PGCB has legalized bets on horse/harness racing, interstate simulcast gaming, and both on-track and off-track pari-mutuel wagering.

Pennsylvania is home to numerous horse racing tracks. Here are some of the most popular establishments:

Poker Games in Pennsylvania

Poker is currently illegal in Pennsylvania, even in private residential homes.

The state considers illegal gambling a first-degree misdemeanor, carrying charges of up to $10,000 in fines and five years in prison.

Players looking to fulfill their poker needs may do so at online poker sites that accept Pennsylvania residents.

Pennsylvania Lottery

In 1971, Pennsylvania’s General Assembly formed the Pennsylvania State Lottery and began selling tickets to citizens over the age of 18.

The Pennsylvania State Lottery offers a great selection of draw games, including:

  • Pick 2, 3, 4, and 5
  • Wild Ball
  • Cash 5
  • Match 6
  • Treasure Hunt
  • Keno

Although the Pennsylvania State Lottery has been around since the 70s, it wasn’t until 2010 that multi-state lotteries were introduced. Currently, players can choose to gamble with popular multi-state lotteries such as:

  • Powerball
  • Mega Millions
  • Cash4Life

Lottery winners receive 40% of the payout prize. After operator expenses are paid, the state of Pennsylvania claims the remainder of the winnings. Lottery winners must claim their money within one year; otherwise, it all goes to the state. Prizes can also be subject to garnishment.

Unlike most states that use lottery taxes to fund public education, Pennsylvania requires all lottery revenue to be spent on social programs such as senior center staffing and social security checks.

Pennsylvania Bingo Games

According to Section 301 of Pennsylvania Bingo Law, Pennsylvania allows any qualified charity to host Bingo games. The Bingo game category includes punchboards, daily drawings, raffles, and pull-tabs.

Popular Bingo hall locations include:


History of Gambling in Pennsylvania

Before 2006 the casino presence in Pennsylvania was close to nil. While you could place wagers on horses and dogs at racetracks, slots, poker, blackjack, and the like were all illegal. This changed in 2006 when the PA state government determined that it would allow for the existence of six permanent casinos so long as they are located at preexisting racetracks. The state government of PA also decided that it would allow for the existence of 5 stand-alone casinos and 2 more “resort” casinos which were to be built as an attachment to preexisting hotels/resorts. It must be noted however, that at the time these licenses were granted approval by Pennsylvania’s state government, they only allowed for the existence of slot machines at the casinos.

In July of 2010, it was decided that the casinos of PA were now able to allow for the play of table games. This news was greeted with mixed attitudes, but allowed PA casinos the chance to offer a casino experience that you would otherwise have to travel to Atlantic City or Las Vegas for.

Since most casinos in Pennsylvania got their start as dog racing or horse racing tracks, they are scattered all around the state; some located in large metropolitan areas, while others are in isolated, secluded parts of the state. Since the inclusion of table games in 2010, the presence of casinos in major cities such as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh has grown and continues to grow. Overall, the casino industry in PA is budding to say the least and has been growing steadily since the inclusion of table games.

Because Atlantic City and its many casino attractions are located within close proximity to some PA casinos, it goes without saying that Atlantic City is PA’s biggest competitor. With that being said, however, the allowance of table games has made many of Pennsylvania’s casinos a viable alternative to travel sometimes great distances to Atlantic City. Additionally, a lot of Pennsylvania’s casinos have been established within the last few years and are newer and more modern than a lot of Atlantic City’s casinos, many of which have been around for 3 or more decades.

Casino online play is currently nearing regulation. Though the process is very slow and tedious, many expect online casino play in PA to be legal sooner than later, especially with neighboring and competing, New Jersey already having online play in effect.

General Pennsylvania Casino Rules

In Pennsylvania, you must be 21 years of age to gamble at casinos

In Pennsylvania, you must also be 21 years of age to drink alcohol at casinos

As of now, sports betting is not permitted in Pennsylvania casinos