Gambling has long been a part of life within Pennsylvania. It’s been available to players in some shape or form since the 1970s. This means that in terms of what’s available, it is ahead of the curve compared to a lot of other states. This is why it wasn’t a surprise when online gambling was legislated within the state long before a lot of other states. We’ve taken a look at the history of gambling in Pennsylvania, and how online gambling has developed in the state.
Gambling in Pennsylvania
Gambling has long been available to players in Pennsylvania. While this has generally been in terms of standard gambling options as opposed to online gambling, it is still more progressive than a lot of the other states. It was behind other areas when it came to online gambling though, with more being legal in other states than was available in Pennsylvania for example.
It started in the early 1970s when a state lottery was legislated. By the 1980s, sports betting was allowed at the different race tracks in the state. It meant that gamblers would be able to place a bet on races, but only within the venue itself.
With these gambling options in place, it was no shock that pushes for other forms of gambling regularly took place. Throughout the 1990s, there were calls for gambling to be legalized, and casinos to be offered to players. However, these calls were always rejected, and the state remained with its lottery and race tracks as the only gambling options.
This changed in 2004 when a new act was passed that allowed for another gambling push to be made. Many people felt that the new gambling push would impact on lotteries and race track revenues, but this never took place.
Slot machines were allowed within race tracks, and the gambling machines soon started to generate large revenues. In fact, it was only Nevada that had higher revenues from slots than Pennsylvania by 2007. The passing of the act, also meant that a number of casino locations appeared offering slots and table games. From here, very little changed in terms of gambling until 2017.
In October 2017, Pennsylvania passed legislation that allowed online gambling to take place. This included fantasy sports that are contested for real money. Pennsylvania was very early when it came to offering online casino play to customers, as it was the fourth state to do so. The new act that was put into place in 2017 wasn’t the end of things though.
In 2018, a Supreme Court ruling meant that sports betting was allowed across the country. This meant that online casinos within Pennsylvania, and other states that have legalized online gambling, could offer sportsbook facilities to customers.
It does mean that Pennsylvania is a relative newcomer to the online gambling landscape in relation to the rest of the world, but in comparison to the rest of the US, it’s a trend setter. As it has offered online gambling for a while now, it has managed to build up significant revenue from the practice. In fact, it set revenue records in 2017, which allowed the state to invest in a number of different areas.
In terms of any future restrictions being lifted, there’s not much left to change for players. However, if new options become available in the future, then it’s likely that Pennsylvania will be one of the states that leads the way when it comes to making it legal.