Gambling laws in Pennsylvania

Gambling laws in Pennsylvania image

Over the last 15 years, gambling has grown to be a huge industry in Pennsylvania. Gambling alone is estimated to be worth $1.4 billion in the form of taxes. According to press reports, gambling has grown so much so that it is only second to that of Nevada. That’s mainly because Pennsylvania is one of the few states in America with an elaborate legal framework governing the gambling industry. In this write-up, we discuss the various gambling laws in Pennsylvania in terms of the legal, illegal, and the state’s stance on both online and offline gambling.

Types of Legal and Illegal Gambling

If you intend to gamble in Pennsylvania, it is important to know the types of legal and illegal gambling. The following are some of the types of gambling considered legal in Pennsylvania:

  1. Betting on horses, which has been legal since 1959. Players can bet on horses on any of the six racetracks across the state.
  2. Slot machines which have been legal since 2004. The state has 12 casinos and each one of them has slot machines.
  3. Table games were legalized in Pennsylvania back in 2010. Players can go to any of the casinos to play roulette, poker, blackjack, and various electronic games.
  4. The Pennsylvania Lottery offers players an array of scratch-off tickets, draw games, as well as fast-play games. It is one of the state’s biggest revenue earners.
  5. Live poker which is available in several poker rooms inside the major casinos. Other casino games include the popular bingo.

Given the foregoing, Pennsylvania is yet to open up its market to all types of gambling. As such, there are several types of gambling that are prohibited under the law. They include the following:

  1. Other forms of sports betting. Betting on horses is one of the oldest types of gambling permitted in Pennsylvania. However, it is illegal to bet on other sports. Thus, only a change in the law would permit players to participate in sports betting.
  2. Online Poker. Over the years, there have been attempts to introduce laws regulating online poker. However, the state legislature is yet to pass such laws.

Stance on Online Gambling

The regulation of online gambling has not been very clear in Pennsylvania until 2017 when a new law was introduced. Since October 2017, online gambling is now legal in this state. However, only the existing casinos will be in a position to offer online games to players. As such, players will be able to gamble from the comfort of their homes. It is now possible for the sale of lottery tickets online.

Stance on Offline Gambling

Given the foregoing, it is clear that most types of offline gambling are legalized in Pennsylvania since the first law was enacted in 2004. As part of the new laws that were passed in 2017, the existing casinos have been given the wherewithal to expand their operations by opening smaller establishments in satellite locations. However, they can only do that if they bid and qualify for the requisite license. So, the state is Pennsylvania continues to support offline gambling through new laws.

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