Believe it or not, the US was not always known for its high-quality casinos and iGaming sites. In fact, the act of gambling used to be legalized in many states. The first legal casino was only launched in Nevada in 1978. From there, only very few states allowed the opening of casinos and iGaming sites for a while.
Pennsylvania was one of the states that was also very strict on its gambling rules. That was until 2017, when it became the fourth state to legalize online casinos. Now, online poker in Pennsylvania has become a huge phenomenon, and more people are heading to iGaming sites to join in on the fun.
What is online poker?
When you’ve played poker at least once in your life, heading to an online casino and selecting the game will seem like deja vu to you. It’s pretty much the same traditional card game you find when you are in a brick-and-mortar casino. The only difference is that you can play it in the comfort of your home.
You’ll notice that many of the rules are pretty much the same, especially if you’re playing a live dealer version of the game. However, sometimes it can change depending on the theme and the online casino you’re using. So if you’re considering playing online poker, look up the rules beforehand, and you might win big.
2017 online gambling bill
So, what was the turning point that made online poker in Pennsylvania so popular? It all started on October 30, 2017, when the Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf finally signed and approved a gambling expansion bill that allowed for the legalization of online gaming. Pennsylvania was now joining New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada, the only states that permitted iGaming.
Also known as the HB 271 bill, it was over 900 pages long but loosened the rules on online gambling for all residents of Pennsylvania. It first emerged in May of 2017 and was passed by the Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee, and the Senate Appropriations Committee.
One of the reasons the bill wasn’t passed for several months was that there were a few controversial terms in place, such as a 54% tax rate when using online slot machines and a $5 million licensing fee for online casinos that wanted to offer poker.
However, although there were doubts, it managed to pass through to the Senate and the House, and it was passed with a vote of 109-72.
Some of the most popular terms of the bill include:
- The introduction of 12 licenses for online casinos
- The legalization of poker, slots, and table games on online casinos
- A tax rate of 14% for all online poker and table games gross gaming revenue
- A tax rate of 52% for slot games on online casinos
- The introduction of online lottery and sports betting
Other rules put in place applied to land-based casinos and other industries, such as allowing the installation of video gaming terminals at truck stops and the building of 10 category four casinos.
The rising popularity of online poker
So, what did this new legislation mean for the people of Pennsylvania? Did they start seeing a rise in the iGaming industry? The truth is, yes, they did. In fact, Penn State University has looked into the gambling behaviors of those in the state and found that around 1 in 10 residents participate in online gambling.
The most popular game of Pennsylvanians is definitely online poker, and they can’t seem to get enough of it since the 2017 bill. Tons of different online casinos offer a wide range of different variations of the traditional poker game, ranging from sites where you can play with live dealers to a typical session of Texas Hold’em.
Out of the 10% of Pennsylvania residents who have become entranced with playing online poker, most of them have appeared to be men. They also spend, on average, six hours a week playing the game, whether it’s a one-off session or staying for longer to compete in a tournament.
It has been less than five years since this bill came into play, and we’ve already seen a significant increase in people playing online poker from Pennsylvania. There’s no doubt we’ll continue to see these numbers rise, especially with the introduction of new technology and casinos.
Best online poker sites in Pennsylvania
Are you from Pennsylvania and want to see what all the hype is about when it comes to online poker? Then, why not try one of these four sites:
All experienced online poker players who live in Pennsylvania have definitely visited PokerStars at least once. It’s been rated the best online poker site by seasoned gamblers due to its wide range of tournaments, an extensive library of unique games, and frequent promotions.
- Borgata Poker
If you find yourself on the go a lot but still want to compete in your favorite poker games, then you can visit Borgata, which is known for its mobile capabilities. You’re always guaranteed to find an exciting tournament, and there are also cashback schemes to take part in.
When you want to take part in free poker games regularly, then Caesars is up to the challenge. Not only are there a ton of free poker games for you to choose from, but you’re also provided with an up to $1,000 welcome bonus and low wagering requirement so you can win big.
Online poker tournaments are always a lot of fun, and BetMGM has the best ones in all of Pennsylvania. It’s one of the longest-running online casinos since the 2017 bill was passed, and you’ll always find a great range of games and various no-deposit bonuses throughout the year.
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