Online Gambling Efforts Push Forward in Pennsylvania

by Kyle Miller

PennsylvaniaEfforts to see online gambling legislation passed in the state of Pennsylvania move forward this week after the state Senate approves a gaming package.

It seems we continue to have news to report on the state of Pennsylvania and efforts to expand upon the gambling industry, but never any solid movement to the positive. Thankfully, today we can offer positive news when it comes to online gambling for the state. Last night, the state Senate was able to approve a bill that will see online casino and poker gaming legalized along with DFS, sports betting and more. The House approved H 271 this morning so now the bill only has to be approved by the governor to move forward.

4th State with Online Gambling in the US?

With the House approving the gaming package with a vote of 109 to 72 this morning, the measure now moves forward to the desk of Governor Tom Wolf. The Senate had approved the measure yesterday after making amendments and now the House is in agreement. Wolf will need to sign the bill in order for it to become law. It is highly likely that Wolf will sign and Pennsylvania will become the fourth state in the US to offer online gambling.

The bill covers a wide variety of gaming options, with expansions coming in several areas. Slot machines, table games and poker will be allowed to take place online. On top of that, the bill will regulate daily fantasy sports and provide sports betting regulation if it were to be legalized on a federal level. The US Supreme Court is set to rule on a New Jersey case involving sports betting. If NJ gets a positive ruling, Pennsylvania would be set to enter the industry with no problem.

The new gaming package also covers online lottery product sales plus allows truck stops that are qualified to offer video gaming terminals. In airports that qualify, table gaming can be placed in designated areas. As many as ten satellite casinos can be added in the state with Category 3 licensed venues having the ability to avoid a membership fee and increase the number of slots on offer by paying a one-time fee to the state.

As far as online gambling is concerned, the bill will allow the twelve casinos off the state to offer online gambling, once licensing has been acquired. A license to offer iGaming will cost $10 million. After a period of 90 days, licensees will have the ability to pay $4 million for one of the licenses available separately. If licenses still remain, the state will be able to offer licensing to entities aside from the state’s casinos.

As far as taxes are concerned, the slot games will be taxed at a 54% rate while poker and table games will be taxed 16%.

Is It Really Going To Happen?

It’s hard to believe but we might finally see a new state enter the online gambling industry in the US. It’s been years since Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey decided to pass legislation and we have waited so long to see another state get with the program. It seems Wolf will easily sign the bill, especially if you consider just how long it took the House and Senate to be able to agree on a gaming package. It would only make things difficult if Wolf were to decide to not sign the measure.

Once a bill has been sent to the governor, he has a ten-day time frame to sign or veto it. If Wolf did nothing, the bill would become law due to inaction. So now, it’s just a waiting game to see what Wolf will do. It would not be surprising to see the state approve online gambling in just a few days with the quick signature of the governor.