When it comes to gaming the first place most Canadians probably think of is Nevada. And rightfully so, home to Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada is the top destination for gamblers; in 2014, the state collected more than $11 billion from gaming.1
The second most popular destination for Canadian gamers is Pennsylvania. Just across from Lake Ontario, gambling revenue from slots and table games at 11 casinos throughout Pennsylvania brought in $3 billion in 2014.2
Pennsylvania Quickly Becomes #2
Pennsylvania ranks as one of the top travel destination for many tourists. Each year, close to two million Canadians visit Pennsylvania where they collectively spend around $279 million.3
Not all of that money stays in Pennsylvania though. Pennsylvania is also a popular destination for gamers and those who love to watch horse racing. Pennsylvania welcomed gamblers in 2007 when seven casinos opened their doors, bringing in $1.4 billion in the first fiscal year. In 2012, Pennsylvania casinos pulled in $3.14 billion, surpassing New Jersey to become the second most popular gambling destination in the United States.4
Today, there are 12 casinos in Pennsylvania. Last year’s $3-billion-total didn’t include the newly christened lady Luck Casino in Nemacolin in Fayette County, which opened in July 2013.
Top Casinos in Pennsylvania
Since casinos opened in Pennsylvania eight years ago, Philadelphia has emerged as one of the fastest growing gambling areas in the country. And is home to some of the country’s premier casinos and racetracks.
Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack
Close to downtown, Harrah’s Philadelphia has a 100,000-square-foot gaming space with 2,900 slot machines. It also offers the largest collection of table games in the Pennsylvania/Delaware area, including: blackjack, craps, baccarat, roulette, 21+3, Asia poker, Mississippi stud, pai gow poker, and pai gow tiles.5
Harrah’s Philadelphia is also the place to be if you like horse racing. The Philadelphia Racetrack is one of the best places for harness racing, boasting one of the fastest 5/8-mile horse racing surfaces in North America. In 2015, the live racing season began in March and continues through December 13. Post time is at 12:40 p.m.6
Harrah’s also offers full-card simulcasting of both thoroughbred and standard bred signals, 7 days a week.
Since Harrah’s Philadelphia does not have a hotel, it is a poplar day-trip destination for gamblers. Thanks to its convenient location on the Delaware River, it is in walking distance to a number of great hotels.
Parx Casino and Racing
Located just half an hour north east of downtown Philadelphia is the Parx Casino and Racing in Bensalem. As its name suggests, Parx is a horse racing venue. It is also the largest casino gaming complex in the state.7
The 165,000-square-foot casino has over 3,300 slot machines; 110 live table games (blackjack, craps, roulette, 3 card poker, 4 card poker, and baccarat); and a premier poker room with 80 poker tables.8
Parx also has live racing and simulcast. The first post is 12:55 p.m. every Saturday through Tuesday, all year.
Parx Casino and Racing does not have a hotel, but a number of motels and hotels are just a few minutes away.
SugarHouse Casino is a gaming complex located on North Delaware Ave. along the Delaware River in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighbourhood. The 45,000-square-foot casino boasts 3,000 slot machines. The gaming floor may be small but Strictly Slots magazine named SugarHouse Casino: “Casino Where You Feel Luckiest At”; “Best $5 and Nickel Slots”; and “Best Slot Club”.9
SugarHouse also has a wide variety of table games (craps, 3 card poker, roulette, blackjack, Spanish 21, pai gow poker, pai gow tiles, pai gow fortunes, baccarat, ultimate Texas hold’em, Asia poker, and Mississippi stud poker). If poker is your game, SugarHouse’s poker room is Philadelphia’s first and only live poker room, with 24 poker tables.10
If you’re looking for a place to sleep after a successful day of gambling, you can stay in any of the hotels or motels located in downtown Philadelphia. While there are future plans for a 500-room hotel, it’s not a reality just yet.
The Poconos – Not Just for Honeymooners
The Pocono Mountains, more commonly referred to as the Poconos, is a popular travel destination located in northeastern Pennsylvania. While the Poconos is favoured by honeymooners, it is also home to a number of first class casinos and one of the country’s top gambling stops.
Mohegan Sun Poconos
Located in the picturesque town of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Mohegan Sun Poconos is home to 82,000 square feet of gaming space with more than 2,300 slot machines (with denominations from $0.01 to $100.00), more than 90 gaming tables, and a poker room featuring 18 poker tables.11
The Hotel at Mohegan Sun Pocono features 238 guest rooms, a 4,000-square-foot spa and salon, indoor pool, and fitness center.12
On top of all that, live racing takes place every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday on the 5/8-mile (1 km) harness track.
Mount Airy Casino Resort
Mount Airy Casino Resort is located in Paradise Township, Pennsylvania and is one of just two AAA 4 Diamond Casino Resorts in the state. The 62,000-square-foot casino features over 1,800 slot machines, more than 80 table games, and poker.13
The casino resort has 188 hotel rooms, a spa and salon, four season pool, restaurants, nightclub, and 18-hole golf course.14
Pennsylvania Casino Winnings Subject to 30% Withholding Tax
Whether you’re visiting the City of Brotherly Love to sightsee and take in the Liberty Bell or relaxing in the Poconos, you need to remember that if your country has not signed a U.S. tax treaty, your gaming and pari-mutuel winnings are subject to a 30% withholding tax.
Countries that do not have a U.S. tax treaty include Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Israel, Kuwait, Mexico, Malaysia, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, and UAE.
If you reside in any of these countries and win a substantial amount gambling while visiting Pennsylvania, typically over $1,200, your winnings are subject to a 30% withholding tax by the IRS.
RMS is the Easiest, Fastest Way to Get Your Money Back
If you’ve been to the U.S. and had 30% of your winnings held back by the IRS, Refund Management Services (RMS) can help you reclaim a portion or all of your taxable winnings.
Founded by a Canadian Chartered Accountant in 1998, RMS is the most reliable and experienced gaming and casino tax refund provider for non-U.S. residents. Only RMS has the One Simple StepTM process. Our customer service agents take care of the rest.
Once you provide us with complete documentation, your claim will be processed and we will submit it to the IRS. It can take a minimum of one year for the IRS to review the claim and for us to receive the refund.
We’ve never been refused for an eligible refund. Contact us today!
1. “Casino revenue in Nevada, on the Strip retreats slightly in ‘14,” Review Journal web site; http://www.reviewjournal.com/business/casinos-gaming/casino-revenue-nevada-strip-retreats-slightly-14
2. “Pa. casinos see loss in 2014 revenue; but little concern for growing competition,” thetimes-tribune.com; http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/business/pa-casinos-see-loss-in-2014-revenue-but-little-concern-for-growing-competition-1.1822291
3. “Pennsylvania,” Government of Canada web site; http://can-am.gc.ca/business-affaires/fact_sheets-fiches_documentaires/pa.aspx?lang=eng
4. “Once novelty, casinos throughout Pennsylvania ‘surrounded by gators’,” triblive.com; http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/8617204-74/casino-casinos-gambling#axzz3gSC0GbAa
5. “Casino,” Harrah’s Philadelphia web site; https://www.caesars.com/harrahs-philly/casino
6. “Live Racing,” Harrah’s Philadelphia web site; https://www.caesars.com/harrahs-philly/racing/live-racing#.Va_aV6RViko
7. “Parx Casino About,” Parx Casino and Racing website; https://www.parxcasino.com/about
8. “Parks Casino – Casino,” Parx Casino and Racing website; https://www.parxcasino.com/casino
9. “Slots,” SugarHouse Casino website; https://www.sugarhousecasino.com/casino/slots
10. “Poker”, SugarHouse Casino website; https://www.sugarhousecasino.com/poker
11. “Playing at Mohegan Sun Pocono,” Mohegan Sun Pocono website; http://mohegansunpocono.com/playing.html
12. “Hotel and Spa,” Mohegan Sun Pocono website; http://mohegansunpocono.com/hotel-and-spa.html
13. “Casino,” Mount Airy Casino Resort website; http://mountairycasino.com/play/casino/
14. “A World of Enjoyment on 1056 Acres,” Mount Airy Casino website; http://mountairycasino.com/stay/hotel-experience/