Welcome to PlayPokerPennsylvania.com! We launched this site with the goal of promoting online poker regulation in the state and keep residents informed on the progress of iGaming legislation.
Pennsylvania is poised to become the next state in the U.S. to legalize online poker. Over the last two years, the state has made tremendous progress to that end and we believe that the state, at worst, is a mere two years away from regulating the game.
At Play Poker Pennsylvania, we strive to bring you the latest news and information on the regulation process. You can also find other online poker resources, including brand review, bonuses for online poker sites, information on online poker apps and much more.
Also, check out our page on how you can get involved in bringing online poker to Pennsylvania. State lawmakers need to hear from you regarding the issue so they know that online poker regulation matters to their constituents. Together with your help, the regulation process can be sped up dramatically.
If you have any comments, suggestion or if there is a story you believe we’ve missed, feel free to contact us. We welcome your suggestions and working with your to make online poker in Pennsylvania a reality.
Is Online Poker Legal in Pennsylvania in 2015?
Online poker is not presently legal in the state. More accurately, online poker is not regulated. Online poker sites are prohibited to operate under the UIGEA but players are not penalized for playing at offshore sites. However, they do risk losing their money, as they have zero recourse against a site if they close shop and steal player deposits.
The regulation of online poker in nearby Delaware and New Jersey has prompted state lawmakers to look into the matter of online gambling expansion. At first, this expansion was expected to be “poker only” but New Jersey has proven the benefits of offering online casino games in addition to online poker.
If online poker is passed, it will provide a tremendous source of tax revenue to the state without the need to raise taxes on citizens. These profits can be expanded if the state chooses to seek out interstate compacts with other states such as New Jersey. As regulation expands to other states, online poker and iGaming could prove a lucrative endeavor that will fund education, infrastructure and other social programs.
Pennsylvania Online Poker Predictions
While online poker is not currently legal, we believe that it is a matter of time before legislation passes and the game is regulated. This regulation will be done in one of two ways and we will go over each scenario.
First, the state legislature is at an impasse over next year’s budget. Revenue is needed to balance this budget and some lawmakers believe that online gambling can make this happen. As such, the issue is being floated as an option for next year’s budget.
Should this option become a reality, this would mean that online poker would become legalized once the budget is passed and signed into law by the governor. Then the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board can go to work creating regulation and starting the licensing process.
The other option is the typical legislative process. Online poker has failed to come to a vote in each of the last two years but it gained significant momentum in 2015. It is our belief that if online poker is not part of the 2016 budget, it will pass in the state legislature within the next two years.
In 2015, there have been numerous hearings regarding online gambling in the state and most of the feedback has been positive. Lawmakers also appear willing and ready to move forward in the legislative process. Also, the majority of casinos in the state appear open to the possibility of iGaming regulation. The only dissenting vote is the Sheldon Adelson owned Sands Bethlehem and it is believed they do not have the political clout to stall regulation in Pennsylvania.
If not passed as part of the budget, a bill will be introduced in 2016. Rep. John Payne will likely remain the bill’s champion and the person driving the process. The only reason we don’t believe that 2016 is a lock for regulation is that it is a Presidential election year in the United States. With the country focused on electing the next President, lawmakers may wait a year before passing any laws that can draw any added attention to their party and hurt their candidate’s chances of winning the White House.
By 2017, we expect that online poker will pass through the state legislature and begin the process of going online. If the process is similar to that of New Jersey or Nevada, it may take up to a year to bring a site online. With that said, PA residents should be able to play regulated online poker no later than 2018.