Which Types of Gambling Are Legal in Pennsylvania?

By  //  November 26, 2021

The landscape of the gambling industry in the United States is confusing. If you don’t fully understand what you can and can’t do, you’re not alone. Thousands of people are in the same predicament because it’s not a federal issue. States get to select their own laws, which makes the topic even harder to understand.

With that in mind, it’s important to evaluate individual states to ensure you’re acting within the law. Today, we’re going to look at Pennsylvania and ask the question, which types of wagering are legal in the Keystone State?

The History of Betting in Pennsylvania

In comparison to some other US states, Pennsylvania does not have an extensive history with gambling. Its first dalliances with legalised gambling stretch back to 1971, when lottery games were made permissible by law. Horse racing would follow the year after, though it would take more than three decades before any further advances were made in the Pennsylvanian gambling sector.

With the passing of the Racehorse Development & Gaming Act in 2004, casinos and slot parlours were legalised and immediately enjoyed huge popularity. The opening of the first state casino (Mohegan Sun) in 2006 received much fanfare, with table games joining machines in 2010. However, up until this point, all gambling had to take place in certified land-based establishments, with online wagering still not possible.

Online gambling in PA

Aware of the growing popularity and huge economic potential associated with online gambling, the Pennsylvanian authorities first introduced a bill aimed at legalising the practice in 2013. However, that and subsequent reforms did not pass until 2017, when the local government approved Bill HB 271, thus allowing PA citizens to play poker and visit online casinos in the state.

Shortly thereafter, the US Supreme Court ruled that each state is free to choose its own approach to gambling, thus opening the floodgates with regards to casino operators. These day, anyone wishing to visit an online casino in Penn state merely needs to perform a cursory search online and they’ll be rewarded with an abundance of options to satisfy their appetite.

What Types of Gambling Are Now Legal in Pennsylvania?

In the wake of those important legislative moves, it’s now possible to engage in most types of gambling in Pennsylvania. However, what is available to you will depend upon your age, as well as upon your choosing a casino operator that has been approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

For 18-year-olds, it’s now possible to play the national lottery, visit a bingo hall, gamble at an online casino or place a bet on horse racing. However, all other types of sports betting (including Daily Fantasy Sports) are off limits until you reach the age of 21. The same is true for visiting a brick-and-mortar casino or playing poker for money.

The Future of Wagering in Pennsylvania

Despite the fact that Pennsylvania’s history with gambling is relatively short, it has done its utmost to make up for the lost time in the last couple of decades. That’s especially true with regard to the online component of the industry. Although it has only been operational for a few years, Pennsylvania has the fastest growing online gambling sector in the whole of the USA, meaning there’s a bright future ahead for residents of the Keystone State.

For those keen to place a wager, try their hand at slots or play a card game in Pennsylvania, it’s possible to do so online or in-person – as long as you fulfil the state’s modest requirements.