Pennsylvania becomes fourth US state to legalise online casinos

Pennsylvania legalises online casinos and online poker

Pennsylvania has officially become the fourth state in North America to legalise online casinos after Governor Tom Wolf signed Pennsylvania House Bill 271 into law on Monday, October 30.

After numerous delays and multiple amendments, PA House Bill 271 finally passed the Senate last week and moved to the State house, where it was later also approved and fast-tracked for signing.

PA House Bill 271 brings dramatic regulatory changes to Pennsylvania’s gambling industry, including the authorisation and sale of online slots, table games and poker licenses.

Land-based casino operators in Pennsylvania will be able to apply for a license to run an online casino or poker service, with each aforementioned license costing $4 million USD to secure, or $10 million USD if the operator buys the rights to provide all three services.

The state joins Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey as one of the few in the country to have proper regulation set up for online casinos and online poker services, and is the largest in total population size at 13 million.

Also included in the house bill is new legal groundwork to regulate Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS), online lottery sales and sports betting in Pennsylvania, along with the proposal of development of new land-based casinos across the state and the approved use of Video Gaming Terminals (VGTs) at select highway truck stops.

While the passing of an online gambling bill signifies a win for locals who have fought hard for online casino and poker rights, it comes at a time when the state budget is currently at a deficit of $2.2 billion – and as such, the tax rates attached to these new licenses is high to replenish state coffers and close the gap.

Along with the substantial costs of each gaming license, operators will have to pay 16 percent tax on online poker and table gross game revenue (GGR) and 54 percent tax on online slots revenue, the latter of which is the same rate traditional slot machines are taxed in Pennsylvania.

Earlier this month, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced an interstate compact with Delaware and Nevada to combine online poker liquidity and allow players in all three states access to bigger poker tournaments and prizes via the peer-to-peer format.

It remains to be seen if Pennsylvania will join once the first online poker operators are approved and established, but we’re betting it’s definitely on the cards in the near future.

Top real money casino sites for USA players

Despite the complex gambling laws differing in each state, North American bettors can still play online poker and online casino games at various offshore real money sites. These sites are licensed and regulated in foreign jurisdictions not bound by local U.S restrictions, but are completely legitimate and reputable among the international community.

For real money online poker, Ignition Poker is highly recommended for USA players to check out for large poker tournaments and substantial bonuses.

For real money casino games, check out our latest USA online casino sites guide to find the best Internet gaming destination for players from your state.