Pennsylvania Legal Poker 2017
Waiting for online poker Pennsylvania sites to open up? If you live in PA, you could be seeing legit, regulated poker and gaming websites popping up on your browser before the year is out. And if not, there are still plenty of legal poker rooms online you can play at now.
If you'd rather not play on an internationally regulated site and you prefer legal poker sites in Pennsylvania that are run out of the state, there's good news. Pennsylvania recently expanded its land-based casino operations, and gaming revenues across the board are down. That could well lead to new regulation for online gambling and betting in order to bolster a weak economy.
While there is still significant opposition to any law making it onto the statute books in PA, let's take a look at why online poker PA players could soon be firing up the Texas Hold'em tables in 2017.
Is Online Poker Legal in Pennsylvania?
No law has ever been passed prohibiting online poker specifically within Pennsylvania - although online gambling is technically illegal in the Liberty State - and judges have even ruled in the past that poker is predominantly a game of skill, thus making it different to 'games of chance' like roulette.
In 2010, however, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania reversed that stance and found poker to be unlawful gambling, confusing many online poker Pennsylvania players even more.
But according to reports, the Independence State is one of the states 'most likely to' legalize soon, so we could see legal poker sites in Pennsylvania before the end of the year. For now, at least, top unregulated sites are open for real-money to US players living across PA.
Are Any More Bills Likely?
Democrat Tina Davis is the main sponsor of Bill HB 1235 (currently being referred to the Gaming Oversight committee) which seeks to supply licences for Internet gaming, but that may be a step too far for state lawmakers just now - as well as rather prohibitive 20 percent tax rates.
In March 2017, however, a deadline will be reached for the Pennsylvania State Senate's Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to issue its findings on the legitimacy of online gaming in the state. June 30 is the cut-off date for PA lawmakers to pass any gambling budget.
Resolution SR 273 - brought by Senator Joe Scarnati - calls for a study of legal casino gaming in the state. While it doesn't specify any pro-online poker PA legislation, it could pave the way for future laws and open the doors to more online poker Pennsylvania websites.
According to the detail of SR 273, legal gambling has generated over $6 billion in tax revenues, and with a tough economy in the Independence State, new online regulation would certainly bolster that figure. When you think of all the money the government stands to collect from taxes, it's hard to ignore how beneficial legal poker sites in Pennsylvania would be for the entire state.
What's the Live Poker Scene Like?
The introduction of the 2004 Gaming Act allowed 12 land-based establishments to open in PA.
Land-based gaming in the state is massive, with many major casino chains operating within state borders. Legal poker is a major part of those casino games on offer, as stipulated by the Pennsylvania Code.
Sheldon Adelson - who is currently making waves with federal anti-Internet gaming moves of his own - operates the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, Harrah's has a casino in Chester, while Grantville's Hollywood Casino and Bensalem's Parx Casino and Racetrack has hosted World Poker Tour legs in the past. The fact that Adelson runs a casino and is so against internet gambling could spell trouble for those wishing to see legal poker sites in Pennsylvania. But on the other hand, Harrah's would likely support online poker PA sites, so that's good news.
Casino revenue is up, with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board reporting record monthly takes, and arguably, since the first casinos appeared in PA in 2005, betting income has been taken from casinos in nearby states like New Jersey.
However, Pennsylvania's own industry has been taking hits from Maryland and Ohio's legit casinos. (Maryland itself is gearing up for possible online legislation in 2017 also.) And those fears are what may force PA gaming lawmakers to make the next move.
The Future of Legal Poker In the Keystone State
What's the future looking like for the online poker PA legal situation? With many senators seen as sympathetic to the online gaming industry (although not all - Rep. Mario Scavello wants to outlaw online gambling in the state), Pennsylvania is seen by many experts as possibly next in passing some kind of intrastate regulation.
However, as with other states considering a gaming revolution, legal online pokerPA sites probably depends upon how existing regulated states like New Jersey's figures add up.
With an estimated $1 billion hole in finances, PA may need to find extra revenue quickly - and legal poker on the web may help to fill that hole. As Sen. Scarnati has said, "I'm not an expert on what is cutting edge in the gaming industry, but what I can tell you is we're losing revenue." Legal poker sites in Pennsylvania could help plug that sinking ship.
Can I Play Online Poker Legally in Pennsylvania?
No. However, no PA resident has been found guilty of playing poker online. There are many online poker PA legal experts who disagree on whether poker is actually a game of chance.
What Age Do You Have to be To Gamble?
21 or over in the state's many legit land-based casinos. Lottery players can enjoy a game at 18. The state's top online poker PA legal authorities agree that the online age would likely be 21.
Are There Any Live Casinos?
Yes - the 2004 Gaming Act enabled many big casino chains to open land-based casinos offering poker in the state. If an online poker Pennsylvania law comes into effect, the big casino chains will likely be the ones calling the shots.
Can I Make Real Cash Deposits In Pennsylvania?
Yes. However, the same problems with payment processing exist in PA as do in many other USA states. You may find it hard to make real-money deposits and withdrawals.