Pennsylvania Legal Online Poker Overview
|Essential MI Online Poker Info||Status|
|📅 Online Poker Legalised:||October 30, 2017|
|🏛 Legal Online Poker Sites in PA:||BetMGM, Borgata, PokerStars, WSOP|
|💲 Available Online Poker Bonuses:||Deposit bonus, matched bonus, no deposit bonus, tournament tickets, welcome bonus|
|🃏 Permitted Online Poker Variations:||Omaha, open-faced Chinese poker, stud poker, Texas hold ’em, three-card poker|
|🔞 Legal Gambling Age in PA:||21+|
|💰 Accepted Payment Methods:||Mastercard, PayNearMe, PaySafeCard, PayPal, Play+, Skrill, Visa, Automated Clearing House (ACH), online bank transfer|
|⚖️ Pennsylvania Online Poker Regulator:||Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB)|
Pennsylvania Online Poker Laws Summary
Pennsylvania GovernorTom Wolf signed the online gaming bill, HB 271, into law on October 30, 2017. This made Pennsylvania the fourth US state to legalize online and regulated gambling, and the first to go live since the online gaming initiatives went legal in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware in 2013.
Besides online poker, the bill allowed for online lottery, daily fantasy sports, sports betting, and igaming terminals at rest stops. Pennsylvania set the tax rate for gross gaming at 14% on all online poker and online table games – 2% of that was set aside for local share assessment.
In 2018, New Jersey helped states like Pennsylvania when they took on the US Supreme Court in the case of sports betting. The subsequent monumental victory over the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) opened the door for multiple states to engage in legal sports betting. Before this, sports betting only held its own in Nevada.
As of October 2022, no Pennsylvania poker sites are merged with any other states in the United States. WSOP.com currently holds an interstate merger agreement with New Jersey and Nevada but has not launched plans for Pennsylvania to join the compact yet. Other states and operators were waiting for a positive outcome for the Department of Justice Hearings. Originally, the outdated US Wire Act held back sites from operating across state lines, but in January 2021 the courts ruled in favor of the gaming companies and allowed for mergers to proceed in regulated markets. Shared liquidity poker player pools in most states (including Pennsylvania) have not yet started.
Legal Online Poker Operators in Pennsylvania
There are currently four online poker licensed operators in Pennsylvania – PokerStars, BetMGM, Borgata and World Series of Poker (WSOP).
PokerStars went live in PA on November 6, 2019, partnering with Mount Airy Casino. Besides going online, the company also created a PokerStars live poker room in the casino. It remains the only official PokerStars live room in the United States. After a soft launch, Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board granted the operator approval to launch to the masses. To this day, PokerStars remains the top producer online in the state monthly.
April 27, 2021 saw the launch of two sites that share the same server – BetMGM launched online poker under the Hollywood Casino Grantville’s license, while Borgata also joined the party when they launched under the River’s Philadelphia license. Then on July 12, 2021 WSOP entered the market with a soft launch. After a few days of testing the site went live on July 15.
Operators in Pennsylvania, provide iGaming options to a population of over 12.96 million residents in the Keystone State. Each site offers a host of traditional poker games, while popular events include multi-table tournaments (MTTS), sit and go tournaments (SNGS), monthly promotions, jackpot-style tournaments, cash games, play money games, and satellite events.
Read on to see our favorite features of the legal online poker operators in Pennsylvania:
BetMGM and Borgata are affiliated to two different land-based casinos in Pennsylvania but share the same online player pool. On April 27, 2021 BetMGM launched online poker under the Hollywood Casino Grantville’s license while Borgata also launched under the River’s Philadelphia license.
The sites offer daily tournaments and regular cash games. These cash games range to all different sizes. The poker site is available on mobile and desktop across all operating systems and is merged with the BetMGM casino and sportsbook app for added loyalty bonus points. The BetMGM poker site currently averages 55 players online over a seven-day period (based on data collected by pokerscout.com in October 2022). The site sees most of its traffic during its monthly online promotional series that run about 10 days each month. BetMGM skins currently do not share liquidity with any other state.
BetMGM’s standout features include:
MGM Resorts M Life Rewards Program is used throughout the US
Monthly online poker tournament series
Progressive knockout (PKO) tournaments
Skins – Borgata
PokerStars is available on mobile or desktop across all operating platforms. The site currently averages about 180 players online over a seven-day period (according to pokerscout.com statistics), and sees most of its traffic in big Sunday tournaments. The operator provides live partnered events in Pennsylvania where players can win buy-ins to big PokerStars tournaments. This includes the famous Platinum Passes give aways for a $25,000 buy-in poker tournament.
PokerStars has many perks, including:
Great operational software systems
Pennsylvania Championship of Online Poker (PACOOP) tournaments
Spin and go tournaments
Strong and responsive social media presence.
World Series of Poker
WSOP is available on all operating systems and can be accessed via mobile or desktop. WSOP.com currently averages about 60 players online over a seven-day window (based on pokerscout.com statistics), with the site drawing most of its player traffic on WSOP Circuit events monthly and the popular Online Bracelet events.
WSOP site highlights include:
Monthly circuit ring events
Direct satellites to the WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas
Online Bracelet Tournaments
Even though laws have been passed to allow the merger of player pools in other states, no other online operator besides New Jersey and Nevada has a shared player pool with any other legal state as of October 2022. Players are hoping for an expanded compact merger in 2023.
Signing up to an online poker operator may seem confusing – especially if you have never gambled online before. However, the process is straightforward – just follow the simple steps below and you’ll be playing online poker sooner than expected:
Select one of our recommended Pennsylvania poker operators. You can visit your chosen operator on mobile or desktop, or download the relevant app.
Click ‘sign-up’ or ‘register’. This process will be similar across all operators and platforms, and you will need to input personal information such as your full name, date of birth, address, phone number and email. You may also be required to enter part of your Social Security number. Most of the information is required in the same format that it is displayed on your driving license or state ID.
Players are then asked to provide a unique username and password, and you may be asked to confirm your email and identity. New players may be asked to provide follow up documents, such as a picture of their license or social security card. Players may also be asked to submit a mobile number for two-factor authentication to log in to the site.
Once all your personal information is confirmed, you can make a deposit on the site. Go to the cashier section, choose a payment method and deposit amount, and follow the instructions to fund your account. Enter any relevant bonus codes and satisfy any welcome bonus deposit requirements to earn maximum rewards.
You do not have to live in Pennsylvania to sign up for a site, but to legally play you must be physically located within PA state boundaries at time of bets being made. Poker operators verify this by using geolocation services so you may have to allow this on your phone to access the sites. The system used is called GeoGuard. Players may need to turn on wifi or enable their location on their phone to play. All players must be 21 or older to play poker online in the Keystone State.
Use your cash and bonus funds to play your favorite poker games. If you win, revisit the cashier page and follow the instructions to withdraw.
Pennsylvania Online Poker Bonuses & Promotions
Pennsylvania poker sites have many different welcome bonuses for new players. Each site in PA offers credit for players to use practising on free games, but online players more often take advantage of real money bonuses in the form of no deposit sign up promotions and matched offers.
Visit your preferred Pennsylvania poker site to start building a bankroll using these bonuses:
BetMGM/ Borgata bonuses
$75 in free tournament tickets on deposit
100% match up to $1,000 on deposit
$50 in free tournament tickets (no deposit necessary)
Tickets released as follows:
On Day 1: Two $5 Spin & Go tickets
On Day 3: Two $5 Spin & Go tickets and one $10 ticket
On Day 5: Two $10 tickets
100% match up to $600 on Deposit
$25 free on sign up (no deposit necessary)
$25 free on first deposit
100% match up to $1,000 on deposit
$100 freeroll tournament once a $10 deposit is made
BetMGM M Life Rewards
At BetMGM Poker, players earn 5.6 reward points for every $1 in rake. Online players must rake $70.40 to release $20 of your bonus. Money does not have to be re-played through at that point.
Bonus comp dollars can also be used in retail BetMGM casinos across the country using the M Life Rewards program. Players’ comp cards will be matched to their online accounts.
PokerStars Chest Rewards
PokerStars’ online Chest Rewards system has six levels of rewards. Each chest has different values, and the higher the Chest Level, the more rewards you’ll win. The number of reward points you accrue within 28 days determines the size of your chest rewards. The system resets after that point. Poker players earn 100 reward points for every $1 paid in rake in online real money games.
WSOP Loyalty Program
The WSOP Poker Rewards program is linked to Caesars Entertainment’s Caesars Rewards program, with players able to accumulate wagering points across multiple platforms. You will then be able to redeem these points for a prize of your choice, including tournament tickets and free play. You can also redeem these points for cash back or use them as loyalty points in retail Caesars properties to earn higher tiers.
The WSOP loyalty program sees players receive two points for every $1 in rake collected at a table during a standard game, while you will receive two points for every $1 in fees paid during tournaments.
What are Playthrough Requirements?
A playthrough requirement refers to how many times you must wager the bonus amount before you are able to withdraw the bonus funds. Otherwise known as a rollover requirement or a wagering requirement, it is usually presented as a multiplier so the size of the bonus determines the amount you are required to bet. Always check the wagering requirements and T&Cs before depositing any cash.
BetMGM Playthrough Requirements
Players that take advantage of BetMGM’s promotions have to earn iRewards to clear the bonuses. Funds are cleared 10% at a time and need to be played through 14x to be released. So for $100 deposited, players would need to clear 140 iReward points to get $10.
Poker players gain 5.5 iRewards points for every dollar spent on a tournament buy-in. In cash games, for every $1 raked, a player also earns 5.5 iReward points. Players have 120 days to use these bonuses.
BetMGM also has some of the best comps in the industry. Players can use points for live casino rewards or convert them into MGM Rewards Points for room nights and experiences at over 20 MGM Resort properties nationwide.
PokerStars Playthrough Requirements
Pennsylvania poker players can get up to $600 for a deposit bonus with PokerStars. They will receive $10 for ever 180 Redemption Points (RPs) earned, and 5 RPs are accrued for every $1 in tournament buy-in or raked cash games. RPs are cleared on every live cash game and also set rates on tournaments, and players have 120 days from the deposit date to clear the bonus.
WSOP Playthrough Requirements
WSOP.com allows players to earn Action Player Points (APPs). These points can be gained by playing cash games or real money tournaments.
To clear WSOP bonuses, the following regulations apply:
The first bonus $10 clears at a rate of $1 per 10 APPs.
After the first $10 bonus, $50 can then be unlocked at a rate of $5 for every 50 APPs accumulated.
The final release rate occurs at $10 for every 100 APPs.
Apps are cleared on every live cash game and also set rates on tournaments.
The bonus must be cleared with in 60 days.
Pennsylvania Poker Tournaments
Pennsylvania poker sites mainly offer no-limit hold ’em and Omaha-style tournaments. These often include progressive and bounty knockout tournaments. The sites also offer freezeouts, turbos, deepstacks and satellites. Each site runs multiple daily tournaments and generally offers a major event tournament series once a month.
Knockout Tournaments (KO)
Also known as bounty tournaments, knockout tournaments are popular in the poker community. Players earn a predetermined cash prize for every opponent they knock out.
Progressive Knockout Tournaments (PKO)
Progressive knockout tournaments (PKO) are unique bounty tournaments. When a player is taken out by another player, that winner receives 50% of the loser's bounty.
The other 50% is added to the winning player’s own collective bounty. Bounties keep rising every time a player eliminates another, which means that near the end of the tournament bounties can be worth a lot of money.
Live Tournament Satellites
Paying entry to events such as the WSOP Main Event ($10,000) can be a lot of money for players. Online players can instead play in weekly satellites – smaller buy-in qualifying tournaments – online to win seats into these headline events for as little as $1. BetMGM also hosts online satellites to major events in Las Vegas. Sites like Pokerstars give players a chance to win seats into the Players Championship tournament located in the Bahamas every January.
For players that do not have all day and night to grind out a tournament, turbos consist of an accelerated format that allows players to finish an event in around four hours. The structures (e.g., blinds, antes and payouts) usually increase every five minutes.
To take it one step further, super turbos are generally completed in under three hours. The blind levels usually increase about every three minutes. These are perfect events for recreational players that want to kill some time and still make it to work the next morning.
Guaranteed Prize Pools
Online poker rooms will offer guaranteed prize pools for different events. The guarantees can range from $500-$250,000+, depending on the series tournament. The poker operator guarantees that no matter the amount of the entries, the prize pool will still be there to win. If there are less players than required to generate the funds, this is called an overlay. That means the poker site is responsible to cover the money needed to fulfill the guarantee.
Some special tournaments such as mixed games, pot limit Omaha, seven-card stud, and other additional games can sometimes be found on Pennsylvania poker sites.
Jackpot Sit & Gos
Jackpot sit & gos (SNGS) are a mix of slots and poker. These small tournaments may include three or four people and offer bonuses that aren't known to the players until the game starts. Each player buys in for a certain amount and plays until there is a winner. At the end a special prize amount is awarded as a jackpot. These can payout big wins occasionally.
Types of Poker Games Available in Pennsylvania
Online poker sites in Pennsylvania offer many different variations of the popular game. No limit hold ‘em (NLHE) is widely regarded as the most popular, but there are plenty of other options available and sites will sometimes also include special variants. These events generally pop up during major series, and can be lots of fun to try.
Texas Hold ‘em
Texas hold ‘em can be played in no limit, limit or pot-limit fashion. This is currently the most popular game in the US. You receive two cards in the hole before five community cards are spread across the felt for all players to use. You must use the best five cards to make your hand.
The second most popular poker format in most of the United States is Omaha. As with hold ‘em, players can play in no limit, limit or pot limit. Pot limit is the most popular and this is referred to commonly as PLO. Omaha plays almost identically to regular hold ‘em, except a player gets four hole cards instead of two. Out of those four cards, players must only use two in their hand to complete their best five-card hand.
Open-Faced Chinese Poker
One of the newest poker trends in the last 10 years is a game called open-face Chinese poker (OFCP) – a variant of Chinese poker. Players start with five cards and are then given one card at a time until they reach 13 in their hand. Players must make rows of their strongest hands, with three cards in their front row and five cards each in the middle and back rows. Despite its name, the game variation is said to have originated in Finland.
Three-card poker is a table game found in both retail and online casinos. Unlike other forms of poker, three-card is played against the house and not against other players. The goal of the game is for the player’s hand to beat the dealer’s hand.
One of the oldest forms of poker is stud poker. This game is still popular on the east coast but is generally not played as much online. Stud poker today usually includes seven-card stud. In seven-card players must make the best five-card hand. Four out of each player's seven cards are exposed to the table face up. Earlier formats included five-card stud, but that game is rarely seen anymore. Stud is generally popular on the east coast.
When it comes to making a deposit, Pennsylvania poker players have many options to pick from. Regulated sites allow players to choose a method which best suits their needs.
Some examples of ways deposits can be made include the following:
Credit or debit card (Visa/Mastercard).
Direct bank deposits.
Direct cash deposits at physical casinos.
eCheck bank payments (ACH transfers).
eWallets such as Neteller, Paypal .
PayNearMe cash deposits at 7-Eleven and Family Dollar stores.
Prepaid/gift cards – Play+ and Paysafecard gift card deposits.
Verifying Banking Methods in Pennsylvania
You need a verified account to make a withdrawal from online poker sites, and you may have to show identification before any withdrawal is processed. Online players may also have to show online paperwork proving where the money is being deposited to and that they own the account which the funds are being sent to. Withdrawals can take up to 5-7 business days to be accessible by the player.
Live Poker Rooms in Pennsylvania
Nine legal live poker rooms are currently available in Pennsylvania for players to play in. Each brick-and-mortar poker room falls under the watch of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) for regulations and procedures.
The list of active poker rooms in the state include:
|Hollywood Casino Meadows (14 tables)||210 Racetrack Road, Washington PA 15301||(724) 503-1700|
|Live! Casino Philadelphia (29 tables)||900 Packer Avenue, Philadelphia PA 19148||(267) 682-7426|
|Live! Casino Pittsburgh (7 tables)||5260 Lincoln Highway US-30, Greensburg, PA 15601||(878) 787-7135|
|Mohegan Sun Pocono (9 tables)||1280 Highway 315, Wilkes Barre, PA 18702||(570) 831-2100 [ext. 4410]|
|Mount Airy Casino (12 tables)||44 Woodland Road, Mt. Pocono, PA 18344||(877) 682-4791|
|Parx Casino (48 tables)||2999 E Street Road, Bensalem, PA 19020||(267) 525-7300|
|Rivers Casino Philadelphia (28 tables)||1001 N. Delaware Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19125||(215) 717-3883|
|Rivers Casino Pittsburgh (30 tables)||777 Casino Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15212||(412) 566-4606|
|Wind Creek Bethlehem (14 tables)||77 Wind Creek Boulevad, Bethlehem, PA 18015||(484) 777-7281|
Future of Online Poker in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is the number one online poker state in the United States, according to revenue reports. There has been consistent year-on-year growth for poker and iGaming since the launch of the online gaming industry in the Keystone State. With almost 13 million residents, live poker rooms and big-name online operators, there is no reason why PA will not continue to hold sway as one of the biggest gaming states in the union.
Additionally, a major boost in poker popularity is likely to occur as operators (including WSOP.com) merge player pools with other states. Currently only New Jersey and Nevada have shared player pools, but once other states can combine forces, major prize pools will be available and should attract the masses.
Rush Street Interactive has also confirmed in 2022 that they plan to launch online poker in the near future. This can be expected to run under either their BetRivers platform or their partnership with Run It Once Poker. This will most likely launch under the Rivers Pittsburgh live casino, since Rivers Philadelphia is already affiliated with Borgata.
Pennsylvania Responsible Gambling Resources
The Council on Compulsive Gambling of Pennsylvania – Provides a free helpline, resources on problem gambling, and puts on educational events. (800) 522-4700
Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board – Offers an online chat, helpline, and links to further support organizations. (800) 522-4700
Gamblers Anonymous PA – Runs regular meetings in Pennsylvania that struggling bettors can attend for support. (909) 931-9056
Pennsylvania sports betting laws require every sportsbook to offer responsible-gambling resources and support, including tools like self-exclusion, allowing you to block your own access to sports betting voluntarily. More tools allow you to control your betting, spending limits, and time spent on a sportsbook site. Sportsbook websites must also include links to problem gambling support organizations.
Is online poker legal in Pennsylvania?
Yes, online poker is legal in Pennsylvania. On October 30, 2017 Pennsylvania GovernorTom Wolf signed the online gaming bill HB 271 into law. The first online casino in PA – SugarHouse (subsequently rebranded as BetRivers) – launched on May 31.
How old do you have to be to play online poker in Pennsylvania?
In the state of Pennsylvania players must be 21 years of age to play online poker.
What do I need to play online poker in Pennsylvania?
Players trying to sign up for online poker in Pennsylvania need a valid government-issued license, Social Security card, valid email and validated bank account. Players will also need a mobile number for two-factor authentication.
Do I have to be in Pennsylvania to play online poker?
Players must be physically located in Pennsylvania to play online poker. Online poker sites use geolocation services to pinpoint a player’s location in the state. Players must have location services enabled on their device to play. This system in Pennsylvania is called GeoGuard.
What are the legal online poker sites in Pennsylania?
Pennsylvania online poker sites include WSOP.com, PokerStars, Borgata and BetMGM.
Are online poker sites in Pennsylvania safe?
Online poker sites in Pennsylvania are safe and are regulated by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. The PGCB imposes strict regulations on financial safety measures and responsible gambling support.
Are there multi-state player online poker pools in Pennsylvania?
Currently there is not any online multi-state player pools available to players in Pennsylvania.
Can you compete in the WSOP in Pennsylvania?
Players can compete for online poker bracelets in Pennsylvania. WSOP.com hosts online bracelet events for PA players.
Do I have to pay taxes on online poker winnings in Pennsylvania?
Yes, players are responsible for declaring their online poker winnings in Pennsylvania on their 2-WG tax forms every year.
Can I play poker online outside of Pennsylvania?
Can I play poker online against people in other states and countries?
While in Pennsylvania, online poker players can only play against other players located in Pennsylvania.
Do you have to be in Pennsylvania to play at a Pennsylvania legal online poker site?
Yes, Pennsylvania online poker players must be physically located within state boundaries to play poker in PA.
Who regulates poker in Pennsylvania?
Online poker is currently regulated in Pennsylvania by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB).
Which online poker sites will be available in Pennsylvania in the future?
At this time, it has been reported that Rush Street Interactive will open an online poker room in Pennsylvania and could be the next operator to launch in PA. Rush Street Interactive currently oversees BetRivers online gaming.