Is Gambling on Poker Legal in Pennsylvania?

is gambling on poker legal pennsylvania

Pennsylvania residents looking to enjoy poker will be pleased to learn that both online and live games are legal in their state. There are several regulated casinos and sports betting sites which offer various forms of poker games, as well as land-based casino locations with poker rooms. Knowing your state laws impacts is key for legal gambling on poker – this article covers some basic points about Pennsylvania poker gambling regulations.

Gambling Law in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s laws regarding gambling are relatively clear-cut, although its definition remains vague. While its criminal code defines illegal gambling activities such as poker or specific game play, none of those specifics appear anywhere within it – although an exception does exist for charitable gambling which doesn’t compare directly with home poker games.

Due to an unclear legal definition, state courts have struggled to define whether poker should be classified as gambling. A county judge found in 2009 that poker constitutes gambling as it involves both chance and skill – however this ruling must first be upheld by a statewide court before becoming official precedent.

Up until recently, Pennsylvania casinos were the only legal means of engaging in poker gambling legally. These regulated casinos offered multiple poker rooms including live cash and tournament action as well as betting options ranging from sports to horse racing – they even needed to pay tax to the state! However, more recently that has changed with an amendment being approved that will permit other forms of legal poker gambling in Pennsylvania as well.

Pennsylvania lawmakers passed a bill in 2017 authorizing various forms of gambling expansion, including online poker. The first licensed Pennsylvania online poker site launched by PokerStars and Mount Airy Casino that November. Since then, more licensed sites have opened across Pennsylvania; today players can find an online poker room at nine of Pennsylvania’s casinos such as Live! Casino Philadelphia, Mount Airy Resort, Wind Creek Bethlehem and Parx Casino.

Pennsylvania may still have unclear legal standing regarding online gambling, yet this development can bring several positive benefits. Notably, this development helps boost Pennsylvania’s struggling gambling revenue: Pennsylvania boasts some of the highest taxes on online gambling in the nation and any increase in this area can only help their finances in the long run. Furthermore, Pennsylvania has been working diligently towards regulating iGaming; Pennsylvania could join states offering legal online poker soon enough.

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