Pennsylvania online casinos offer exclusive bonus deals to first-time players. These offers include both a no-deposit bonus and a deposit bonus. Each of these offers come with a promo code players use to activate the offer.
No-deposit bonuses are especially intriguing because you don’t need to make a real-money deposit to receive this reward. All you must do to claim it is create an account.
A deposit bonus requires you to fund your account with the minimum deposit amount. The advantage to these deals is that they’re worth more than free play, with some bonuses offering up to $1,000 or more.
Pennsylvania online casinos are expected mid-2019, but it is safe to assume at least some of the operators will offer industry-standard bonuses of both the deposit and no-deposit variety.
Keep in mind, though, that PA online casinos aren’t handing you “free” cash once they start offering bonuses. Instead, you will earn the money by satisfying terms and conditions.
We discuss these terms in our Pennsylvania online casino reviews. You can find exact bonus terms and conditions on the casinos’ websites. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) requires that every internet gaming operator list terms for bonuses and promotions.
Pennsylvania online lottery bonuses
Now, PA online casinos have not launched yet. But there is one promo you can take advantage of right now.
In June of 2018, the Pennsylvania Lottery launched its first wave of online lottery instant win games. These games work like scratch-off tickets. However, instead of using a coin, you can just click your mouse. The games are available on desktop and do not require any downloads.
If you want though, there is PA Lottery app which also offers the games. The app, which is available for both Apple and Android also includes features like a ticket scanner, the latest Keno numbers, and more. Apple users can find the app in the iTunes store. Android users will need to download the app from the PA Lottery website.
Currently, the PA online lottery is offering a free $5 when new players sign up for an account. The process is very easy. You can be online and ready to go in a matter of minutes.
How Pennsylvania no-deposit bonuses work
Earning free-play bonuses at PA internet casinos begins with creating an account. This is a simple process that will likely involve entering your:
- Home address
- Relevant promo code
Once you’ve filled out the required fields, the casino will verify your account through automation. Key qualifications include being within Pennsylvania state borders and not enrolled in the state’s gambling self-exclusion program.
You’ll receive your no-deposit bonus once your account is verified. You can then use it to play the casino’s real-money games.
Why do PA online casinos offer no-deposit bonuses?
Because no-deposit bonuses seem like free money, some players wonder why online casinos offer them. The reason is that online gambling is a competitive space. As such, casinos are in constant battle for attracting the attention of gamblers. No-deposit bonuses are the ultimate weapon.
Additionally, online casinos use no-deposit offers as an opportunity to obtain players’ email addresses. Collecting emails increases a casino’s reach when they send out promotional offers.
Many players are willing to give casinos their email in exchange for free money. If you don’t want to continue receiving offers, you can always unsubscribe.
What’s the catch in a no-deposit bonus?
Players don’t assume any financial risk when signing up for a no-deposit bonus. The only cost is the few moments that it requires to create an account and await verification.
The catch, though, is that you must satisfy terms and conditions before the money becomes yours to withdraw. Online casinos don’t just hand out $20 to new customers with no strings attached. You must earn the money by meeting the stated terms.
The following terms are generally the same across the board:
- New players — No-deposit offers are only open to new customers at each casino.
- Wagering requirements (a.k.a. playthrough) — You must wager a specified amount before withdrawing the bonus.
- Claim the bonus — After creating your account, you must visit the bonus section or contact support staff to claim the bonus. However, this is not always required.
- Timeframe — You have to claim your bonus within the stated amount of time (e.g. three days).
- Expiration date — Once claimed, your bonus must be used within a certain number of days (e.g. seven).
- Game restrictions — Some no-deposit bonuses can only be used on specific games.
Earning your no-deposit bonus
Here’s an example to illustrate the process of unlocking a no-deposit bonus:
- You sign up at a PA online casino and use the appropriate bonus code.
- The casino emails you confirming that your account has been validated.
- You’re eligible for a $20 no-deposit bonus.
- Log into your account, visit the bonus section, and claim your free play.
- Wager the $20 bonus five times on slots before withdrawing it.
- You have seven days after claiming the bonus to meet the playthrough requirement.
No-deposit bonuses are usually significantly smaller than first deposit bonuses.
Free play bonuses
Free play bonuses are a subtype of no-deposit bonuses. The difference between the two is that free play bonuses cannot be withdrawn and can only be used to try out the casino’s real-money games for free. However, should the gambler win any money in the course of wagering their free play, those winnings may be eligible for withdrawal after meeting certain wagering requirements.
How PA online casino deposit bonuses work
Most Pennsylvania casino sites offer match deposit bonuses. These deals give you a match percentage based on the size of your first deposit
Here’s an example:
- A casino is offering a 50 percent match bonus up to $400.
- This means that the maximum bonus you can receive is $400.
- You deposit $200, which makes you eligible for a $100 bonus.
“Eligible” is the key word here, because the deposit bonus isn’t technically yours until you earn it. Casinos put the money into a bonus balance until you’ve satisfied specific terms and conditions. Once you earn the money, you can either withdraw it or use it to keep playing.
Meeting wagering requirements on PA deposit bonuses
Playthrough requirements on Pennsylvania online casino deposit bonuses will probably be expressed through one of two ways:
- Multiple of the bonus
- Multiple of the bonus plus deposit amount
The multiple of the bonus allows you to do the math slightly quicker.
Here’s an example on calculating wagering requirements with a multiple of the bonus:
- You’re eligible for a $100 bonus
- Wagering requirements are 20x the bonus
- 100 x 20 = $2,000 must be wagered
Here’s an example on calculating a multiple of the bonus plus deposit:
- You’re eligible for a $50 bonus
- Wagering requirements are 10x the bonus plus deposit
- (50 + 50) x 10 = $1,000 must be wagered
Again, the method used to express online bonus wager terms doesn’t, in and of itself, affect the attractiveness of the offer. What matters more is the overall value of the bonus, which depends on its maximum size and the total playthrough requirement.
Here’s a comparison between two casinos that differ in terms of expressing playthrough requirements:
- You’re eligible for a $100 bonus at two different internet casinos
- The first casino features a playthrough of 10x the bonus.
- 100 x 10 = $1,000 must be wagered
- The second casino features wagering requirements of 20x the bonus
- 100 x 20 = $2,000 must be wagered
- The first gaming site offers the better deal
Keep in mind that it was the total wagering requirement that determined which deal was the better one, not the calculation method.
Pay attention to how many days you have to earn a deposit bonus
Most online casinos give you more time to earn deposit bonuses than they do to earn no deposit bonuses. The reason why is because the wagering requirements on the former are higher. But you should still pay close attention to how long you have to unlock your bonus.
The general time frame is anywhere between 30 and 90 days. Casinos that allow 90 days sometimes do this to make up for having higher playthrough requirements than competitors.
This leaves you deciding what’s more valuable: lower betting requirements or more time to release the bonus.
If you’re conflicted, run the math to decide if earning a bonus in 30 days is realistic. Here’s an example:
- You must wager $5,000 to unlock your bonus
- You have one month to do so
- 5,000 / 30 = 167.67
- Bet an average of $167.67 per day to meet the requirements
- Make slots spins worth $0.25 apiece
- Complete 500 spins per hour
- 500 x 0.25 = $125 wagered per hour
- 167.67 / 125 = 1.34 hours
- You need to play slots for an average of 1.34 hours per day to reach the requirements.
If playing slots for this long each day doesn’t fit into your schedule, then consider a bonus deal that offers a longer time frame. Another option includes making a smaller deposit so that the wagering requirements are easier to reach.
Check stipulations on games for each promo code
Another important aspect of terms and conditions is game stipulations. Internet casinos weigh games differently in regard to wagering requirements. The house edge is the main determinant in deciding this.
Online slots, Keno, and scratch cards give casinos the biggest advantage. Therefore, these games have the lowest playthrough requirements.
Video poker and table games such as Baccarat, Blackjack, Craps, and Roulette have a lower house edge. The trade-off is that they also feature higher playthrough.
Don’t let high wagering requirements scare you, though, because this doesn’t always indicate a worse deal. The following example shows that slots and table games are comparable when unlocking deposit bonuses:
- You’re deciding whether to play slots or blackjack to earn a $50 bonus
- Slots carry 20x the bonus wagering requirements.
- 50 x 20 = $1,000 must be wagered
- You play a slot with 95 percent payback
- 1,000 x 0.05 = $50 theoretical loss
- Blackjack features 100x the bonus wagering requirements
- 50 x 100 = $5,000 must be wagered
- You’re playing a Blackjack game with a 0.5 percent house edge (w/ perfect strategy)
- 5,000 x 0.005 = $25 theoretical loss
Despite having wagering requirements that are five times as high, Blackjack helps you keep more bonus money in this example. This is why it’s important to compare playthrough between different games to determine which is the best approach mathematically.
Also, note that the exact games you choose have a big impact on your bonus earnings. Baccarat (as low as 1.06% house edge) and European Roulette (2.70%) have the same playthrough requirements at many online casinos. But Baccarat’s lower house advantage gives you a stronger chance to collect bonus profits.
What are good wagering requirements for PA online casino deposit bonuses?
The standard for slots playthrough is 20x the bonus amount. This is a fair deal that sees you theoretically break-even on slots with 95-percent payback and profit with anything above this amount.
You’ll find casinos that deviate from the norm by offering 5x or 30x requirements. The former is an exceptional offer and gives you a great chance to profit on slots with a return of 95 percent or higher. Meanwhile, 30x playthrough is as bad as it gets.
Here’s an example on how varying slots wagering requirements affect bonus winnings:
- You’re eligible for a $100 bonus at two PA internet casinos
- You play a slot with 96 percent payback at both sites
- One casino has 10x playthrough
- 100 x 10 = $1,000 must be wagered
- 1,000 x 0.04 = $40 theoretical loss
- The other casino has 30x playthrough
- 100 x 30 = $3,000 must be wagered
- 3,000 x 0.04 = $120 theoretical loss
The first casino sees you walk away with a $60 theoretical profit. The second casino sees you lose $20.
You should aim for table game playthrough of at least 100x the bonus. A 100x requirement on a one-percent house edge game offers the same chance to earn bonus profits as a slot with 95-percent payback and a 20x turnover.
The worst playthrough on the international online casino market is 200x. Here’s a comparison between this and the 100x requirements:
- You’re eligible for a $200 bonus at two casinos
- You play Baccarat (1.06% house edge) at both sites
- The first casino has 100x wagering requirements
- 200 x 100 = $20,000 must be wagered
- 20,000 x 0.0106 = $212 theoretical loss
- $200 – $212 = -$12 net losses
- The other casino has 200x wagering requirements
- 200 x 200 = $40,000 must be wagered
- 40,000 x 0.0106 = $424 theoretical loss
- $200 – $424 = -$224 net losses
You’ll theoretically end up losing in both cases. But the first casino sees you lose $12. Meanwhile, the second casino leaves you with $224 in theoretical losses.
How to evaluate PA online casino promo codes
Great bonuses are a general theme in the regulated US online gaming market. This is true in states such as Delaware and New Jersey.
You can really see the separation when comparing regulated sites to offshore casinos. An offshore casino operates in unregulated markets, which cover most of the US. These operations are usually housed in Caribbean countries that have lax standards regarding internet gaming.
Their bonus deals are designed to guarantee the casino a profit over the average player. Standard wagering requirements on offshore bonuses are typically 40x, which is worse than anything seen in regulated states.
Here’s a comparison between playing for a $100 bonus at an offshore and a regulated casino:
- An offshore casino’s wagering requirements are 40x the bonus
- 40 x 100 = $4,000 must be wagered
- A Pennsylvania casino’s wagering requirements are 20x the bonus.
- 20 x 100 = $2,000 must be wagered
- A player pursues both bonuses on a slot with 95-percent payback
- 4,000 x 0.05 = $200 theoretical loss at the offshore casino
- 2,000 x 0.05 = $100 theoretical loss at the PA casino
When accounting for the bonus, you’d theoretically break-even in this scenario at a US online casino. Meanwhile, you’d lose $100 when going for the same bonus at the offshore casino.
Bonus codes vs. promo codes
You’ll see the terms bonus codes and promo codes used throughout internet gaming. This can lead players to wonder if there’s a big difference between the two.
For the most part, bonus and promo codes are used interchangeably to describe welcome bonuses. One casino may mention how you must use a bonus code to get their welcome bonus package, while another casino will describe it as a promo code. The two are the same in that you must enter them upon signing up to get the deal.
However, one key distinction is when promo codes are used to describe a temporary promotion. For example, a PA casino might email you about a 100-percent deposit bonus for existing members. And they’ll state that you must use a specific promo code when depositing. In this context, a promo code applies only to short-term promotions.
However, in most cases, the only thing you need to worry about is ensuring that you enter the correct code during registration or in the cashier.
Overview of Pennsylvania’s casino market
Pennsylvania is one of the largest regulated gaming markets in the US. The state has over 12.8 million residents and 12 land-based gambling venues that can offer internet gaming.
10 of these casinos are resorts or racinos, while the other two are small slots parlors. Pennsylvania will feature another casino in 2020 when the South Philadelphia Sports Complex is scheduled to complete their gaming venue.
Here’s the current list of PA land-based casinos:
- Harrah’s Philadelphia in Chester (racino)
- Hollywood Casino Grantville in Dauphin (racino)
- Meadows Racetrack and Casino in North Strabane Township (racino)
- Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Plains Township (racino)
- Mount Airy Casino Resort in Mount Pocono (casino resort)
- Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington (resort casino)
- Parx Casino and Racing in Bensalem (racino)
- Presque Isle Downs in Erie (racino)
- Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh (stand-alone casino)
- Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem (casino resort)
- South Philadelphia Sports Complex (scheduled for 2020)
- SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia (casino resort)
- Valley Forge Casino Resort in Upper Merion Township (resort casino)
Casinos must hold separate licensing to offer online slots, table games, and poker. Individual licenses cost $4 million, while a casino can purchase all three internet gaming licenses for $10 million. Considering these relatively high expenses, some smaller casinos are still pondering their entry into the market.
Given the large number of eligible casinos, competition is fierce in PA’s new internet gaming market.