After years of legislative and regulatory prep-work, the state of Pennsylvania finally is beginning to realize a long-awaited goal. The first of several online casinos have begun operations in the Keystone State. It’s only a few of them to start with, and a brief soft-launch examination period is needed before full-blown operations go live. Still, more and more casinos will be following suit this summer. Finally, online gaming has come to PA!
Parx and Hollywood first to market.
The first legal online casino bets were made this Monday (July 15, 2019) when both Parx Casino and Hollywood Casino at Penn National began the testing phase of their soft-launch. During the test phase, both operators will offer a limited selection of games for a limited time (eight hours) over 2-3 days.
The slow beginning is a requirement of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) which wants to ensure all aspects of these new online casinos follow the regulations set up by the PGCB to ensure fair games and financial transparency and ensure players are protected as they enjoy recreational gaming online or on their mobile devices.
Details of the Hollywood online casino soft-launch
Officially, Hollywood Casino had the first online casino to launch in PA when it went live at 11am ET on Monday. It’s another first for Hollywood. They were also the first PA casino to launch a legal retail sportsbook back in November 2018.
During Hollywood’s early testing period, they offered a variety of online slot options as well as some video poker games and one traditional casino game – baccarat. After the first two initial days, the PGCB seems satisfied and Hollywood has expanded their offerings, including several versions of roulette. More games are expected to quickly follow later this summer.
Details of the Parx online casino soft-launch
Parx was close behind Hollywood, launching their online gaming operation at 2pm ET on Monday. Their initial game offerings during this test phase were a little more ambitious than Hollywood opted for. Parx soft-launched with over 150 different slot titles, keno, video poker, and a handful of traditional casino table games.
Some of their table games were popular favorites like blackjack and roulette (the European version with one zero). Other more exotic table games were also on offer early, such as Burn the Sevens, Hi/Lo Solitaire, and PokerBet. As time goes by, Parx will also roll out craps, baccarat, Caribbean stud, and several other table game variants.
Parx has quickly introduced perks for their online gaming players, At launch they are offering a free bet up to $250 as well as Comp Dollars and Xclub Rewards as a reward for play on the site.
PlaySugarHouse hot on their heels.
PlaySugarHouse is the brand name of the online casino run by SugarHouse Casino. The brand (and casino) are all operated under the umbrella of parent company Rush Street, a retail and online gaming company who operate other US casinos under the Rivers Casino brand. To that point, SugarHouse itself will soon be rebranded in this vein as Rivers Casino Philadelphia. The name change should happen sometime this fall.
The company still uses the PlaySugarHouse brand for online gaming though – partially because of the brand recognition they have achieved while operating the PlaySugarHouse brand in neighboring New Jersey for the last few years.
Details of PlaySugarHouse soft-launch
PlaySugarHouse went live today (Wednesday July 17, 2019), officially becoming Pennsylvania’s third online casino operator.
They opted to start their test phase with just a small offering of 22 slot titles. As with Hollywood and Parx before them, the PGCB will keep a close eye on PlaySugarHouse during this soft-launch and also like the first two PA online casino operators, SugarHouse will quickly roll out more titles and game variants in the days and weeks to come.
PlaySugarHouse promo code and generous initial deposit bonus
PlaySugarHouse is offering a great introductory bonus using the promo code 250MATCH when making your initial deposit. Under this offer, PlaySugarHouse will match your first-time deposit 100% up to a maximum of $250. Best of all, to actualize the bonus, players only need to play-through their deposit amount one time.
That’s a pretty great offer. Deposit $250, make $250 worth of bets, and win or lose, PlaySugarHouse will credit your account with a $250 bonus.
Hollywood, Parx, and PlaySugarHouse have center state in the PA online gaming space, but that can’t last forever.
Harrah’s Philadelphia, Valley Forge, and Presque Isle Downs aren’t launching their online casinos this week, but a summer launch is expected. These three should be the next wave of entrants into this exciting new market.
Eventually, the other PA casino operators licensed for online gaming will enter as well. These include Mount Airy, Sands Bethlehem, Mohegan Sun Pocano, and the as-yet-unbuilt Stadium Casino.