Casinos in Pennsylvania

casinos

As of the start of 2016, Pennsylvania has authorized 13 land-based casinos.

The idea began in the 1970s and 1980s when residents traveled in droves to New Jersey to patronize the casinos in Atlantic City, and Pennsylvania wanted a piece of that action. Even so, it wasn’t until 2004 when the state legislature allows for slot machines at race tracks (racinos), and full-fledged casinos opened several years later.

Pennsylvania casinos became so popular that gaming revenue in the state eventually surpassed that of Atlantic City, and Pennsylvania casinos are now only second to those in Nevada with regard to revenue.

As the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has followed the trends of gaming in the US, Internet gaming has entered the picture. In recent years, neighbors New Jersey and Delaware authorized online gaming to compliment land-based revenues, and Nevada is in the online poker industry. The entry of Pennsylvania into the burgeoning market could only enhance the revenue and value of its own industry, and partnering with others for interstate liquidity would be beneficial as well.

State Representative John Payne’s efforts to legalize online gambling will require partnerships with land-based entities, and casinos in his state will benefit from the expansion of the market.

Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack (formerly Harrah’s Chester) in Chester

This establishment in Chester was one of the first to receive a permanent casino license in 2006. Originally a racetrack, the addition of slot machines expanded the customer base, and the space now hosts a full casino space, stores, bars, and several restaurants.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs

Connecticut tribal casino powerhouse Mohegan Sun acquired the Pocono Downs racetrack in Wilkes-Barre in 2005, not long before it received a license to add slot machines and eventually become a full-fledged casino. With a hotel, shops, and wide-ranging dining options, this casino is one of the state’s premier gambling destinations.

Parx Casino and Racing (formerly Philadelphia Park)

Bensalem is located in the Philadelphia area and has grown into the most popular destination for poker players. It started as a racetrack that added slot machines per a 2006 license, and Penn National’s takeover of the property eventually led to its renaming as Parx.

Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course

Near Harrisburg, this well-known racetrack and casino came into its current prestige after Hollywood Casino opened at the track in 2008. The combination of historic racing facilities and modern casino amenities makes it one of the most popular of its kind in Pennsylvania.

Presque Isle Downs and Casino

In the northwestern most part of Pennsylvania, the town of Erie boasts of one of the state’s newest racino facilities. Presque Isle Downs is operated by El Dorado Resorts and offers everything from thoroughbred racing to slot machines and table games. 

The Meadows Racetrack and Casino

The Meadows is located in Washington, just south of Pittsburgh, and houses one of the oldest race tracks in the state, opening in 1963. A slot machine license in 2006 led to the building of an attached casino in 2007, and table games were added in 2010.

Mount Airy Casino Resort

Mount Airy was the first stand-alone casino/resort built in Pennsylvania upon receiving a license to do so. Located in Mount Pocono and established where the Mount Airy Lodge once stood, it opened in 2007 and offers everything from an 18-hole golf course to a nightclub, restaurants, and a spa.

Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem

Las Vegas Sands Corporation built Sands Bethelehem near Lehigh Valley upon the awarding of a slots license in 2006. The building process was complicated, so the casino/resort didn’t open until 2009. It has since expanded to offer several hundred hotel rooms and more casino amenities.

Rivers Casino

The stand-alone casino is in the heart of Pittsburg and opened in 2009 along the Ohio River. While experiencing issues with assessed value for tax purposes, the casino continues to expand with more casino offerings for players and entertainment value for customers.

SugarHouse Casino

One of the fastest growing casino brands in Pennsylvania is SugarHouse, located in Philadelphia. The stand-alone casino received a license to operate slot machines in 2006 but experienced problems with the community before it officially opened in 2010. It is now expanding its casino floor and entertainment space.

Valley Forge Casino Resort

Originally, the Valley Forge Convention Center received a license to operate slot machines in 2009, along with slot machines in 2010. The facility finally opened in 2012 as a casino/resort with a massive casino floor, hotel, and Radisson Hotel attached. There are also numerous restaurants and bars in the complex.

Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin

Nemacolin Woodlands Resort began in Farmington and constant additions led it to grow into a massive resort that received a slot machine license in 2011. A full casino opened there in 2013, which was named Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin, which now boasts of a golf course and ski lodge.

Live! Hotel and Casino

This facility is still in the process of obtaining its full operating license, but the proposed casino will be in South Philadelphia. It will compliment an entertainment venue and renovated Holiday Inn hotel and conference center. Greenwood Racing, owner of Parx Casino, is in partnership with Cordish to build it.