Evolution and Expectations of the Pennsylvania Gambling Market


In terms of gambling revenue, Pennsylvania is the second largest casino state and most of the state’s casinos are racetracks with attached casinos that offer gambling on slots, table games and video poker. Horse racing was the first type of gambling which was legalized in Pennsylvania in 1964. It took the state over 200 years to realize that it was beneficial to regulate and tax the racing industry as before it was legalized, there were dozens of tracks operating off the book.

The gambling industry continues to expand


In 1972 the state created the Pennsylvania Lottery with a $1 million grand prize. Nowadays, Pennsylvania offers more than casinos to those who want to try their luck. There is a state lottery, live horse racing and off-track betting. In 2004, lawmakers signed a bill permitting racetracks to add slots, table games and video poker. This lead to the market exploding and generating the second highest rate of gaming revenue in 2012. The state worked on expanding the market further and in 2017 lawmakers passed a bill to permit online gaming and daily fantasy sports.

Revenue highlights

Pennsylvania has quite a large population, around 13 million people reside in the state and it has a well-established land-based gambling industry. In 2017 the combined revenue from land-based casinos exceeded $3 million. The first legal online casinos were launched in 2019 and the market continued to grow seeing records one month after the other.

This year, casinos in Pennsylvania announced that they have gotten the highest revenue in their nine years of operation. The online gaming revenue in March 2024 was almost $100 million, online slots being the most popular. In the first three months of 2024, the state generated $1 billion of revenue from both land-based and online casinos in just a single quarter.

Potential iGaming operators face obstacles to enter the market

The main problems potential iGaming operators are facing in Pennsylvania are related to taxes and high barrier to entry. Each license costs $4 million and if there are too many applications, the companies that receive the license are selected at random. Furthermore, online casinos are subject to 34% tax which is the same as land-based casinos. This will most likely hinder iGaming operators from offering promotions as they won’t be able to offer bonuses and rewards to new and returning clients. The games offered by the Pennsylvania Lottery which is owned by the state are exempted from this tax and the primary objective of this lottery is to generate funding for state programs.

In spite of the high barrier to entry, Pennsylvania is perceived as one of the preferred locations for online gaming operators to base their operations. This is due to a number of factors, such as the progressive legislative system, telecommunications facilities, political stability and a strong financial services industry. If you are looking to know where you can play online from Pennsylvania, you might want to have a look at this dedicated website, you will find everything you need to know to pick a legal PA casino site.

About the Pennsylvania sports betting market


Sports wagering generated more than $29.3 million of tax revenue in March 2024. Since March of last year the market saw a huge increase due to the shutdown of the sports calendar during the pandemic.

The state legalized sports betting back in 2017 as a part of the gaming expansion and mobile sports betting was launched in 2019. License applicants need to pay a one-time fee of $10 million for sports betting and once granted, the revenue is taxed at 36%. The law allows wagering on both professional and collegiate events as long as players are at least 21 years of age. Bets can be placed in person, online or on a mobile phone.

Mobile betting gained popularity and by 2024, there were over 10 sports betting apps on the market. The apps are quite user-friendly for Android devices or desktop/ laptop computers. On the other hand iOS owners struggled as it was not possible to access an online sportsbook on iOS devices.

Only basic information is required for signing up such as your name, email, residential address location, and the last four numbers of your Social Security. Once you have registered, you would need to fund your account and some sportsbooks offer some free bets upon registration.

Responsible Gambling Rules by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board

  1. You can choose to gamble for entertainment purposes. If you are no longer enjoying yourself when you gamble, reflect on why you are still playing.
  2. Money lost is to be considered as the cost of your entertainment. Winnings are to be considered as bonuses.
  3. Set a deposit limit based on how much you want to spend and stick to it.
  4. Set a time limit for your gambling and stick to it irrelevant if you are winning or losing.
  5. Accept the fact that the odds are that you will lose.
  6. Do not borrow money to gamble.
  7. Gambling should not interfere with your daily or social activities. Create a balance in your life.
  8. When you lose money, avoid trying to recover your losses as this might result in losing more money.
  9. Gambling for reasons other than entertainment such as to cope with emotional or physical pain can lead to problems.
  10. Raise your awareness and educate yourself about the signs of problem gambling.

Over the years, change was mostly positive as the market exploded, and the revenue generated far exceeded expectations. Even though land based casinos experienced a financial fallout due to coronavirus induced closures, the industry quickly recovered and the market is still booming. The gradual return of sporting events to the calendar helped the industry get back on its feet.

Regulating online casinos in Pennsylvania resulted in some of the best online casinos to partner with local venues and grow their business. There are many casinos fighting for market share and this gives players an opportunity to take advantage of bonuses and promotions. We are only a few months away from summer and the business is expected to continue to thrive.