There has been talk of Pennsylvania becoming the next big gambling hotspot in the United States, following in the footsteps of giants like Nevada and Illinois.
The history of gambling in Pennsylvania is fairly new, with both casinos and online gambling only being legalized in the past twenty years. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board was formed in 2004. Shortly after, it passed the Gaming Act and Pennsylvania Racehorse Development, the intention of which was to legalize casinos.
Three years later, the first casino was built: Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Even with the establishment of these sites, it was not until 2010 that casino games like blackjack, roulette, and poker, were allowed to be played. Before this time, casinos were only allowed to have 5,000 slot machines (or 600 for resort licensees). As well as casinos, the act authorized seven horse track racing locations. This was already a long-standing and well-loved form of gambling in PA, having been legalized in the Race Horse Industry Reform Act of 1959.
Seven years later, in 2017, online gambling was legalized by the board. This was a big step for Pennsylvania; prior to this, the state had only permitted the building of fourteen casinos within its borders. However, they could not ignore the rise of the digital gambling industry.
These days, there are countless providers for those wanting to take part in online gambling. Some of the newest sites in PA have started to offer sports betting, which became legal just recently in 2019, alongside more traditional online casino games. Despite only being introduced a few years ago, online sports betting has skyrocketed in Pennsylvania. This may be thanks to the successful teams that the state boasts: the Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia 76ers, Philadelphia Eagles, and LeHigh Valley IronPigs, to name a few.
The state of Pennsylvania offering both in-person and virtual gambling experiences has enabled them to become very popular among both tourists and local residents. Gambling has never been as accessible and convenient as it is now, and those in PA can choose between luxurious casinos or easy-to-use apps on their phones.
The role of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has a big part to play when looking at the rise of PA as a gambling hotspot. The agency regulates all gambling activity undertaken in the state, and ensures that all online and physical sportsbooks and casinos comply with governmental standards. Thanks to this oversight, the gambling business is able to thrive and attract people from all over the USA.
As of 2017, Pennsylvania set a revenue record, reporting an impressive $3.227 billion. Although PA is relatively new to the gambling industry, these numbers put them only second to Nevada in terms of commercial casino revenues. Within the commonwealth of PA, there are currently seventeen casinos, nine of which have also partnered with online casinos, meaning that visitors to these sites can also play digital games.
The legalization of both physical and online casinos has cemented Pennsylvania’s position as one of the upcoming gambling destinations in the States. We can see why people are saying that PA is set to become one of the biggest names in the industry.