Online Gambling in Pennsylvania Still Alive

by Kyle Miller

PennsylvaniaOnline gambling efforts are alive and well in the state of Pennsylvania with legislators set to come back to work and discuss the activity.

It has been a few years since an individual state in the US has decided to legalize online gambling options. All eyes have been on California and Pennsylvania for some time as they seem to be the two that are closest to passing legislation. California now seems to have stalled but efforts in Pennsylvania are alive and well with legislators starting to get back to work next week.

Legislature Back in Action

September marks the time frame when legislators will be back in action within the state. The General Assembly is set to return on Tuesday with the Senate in office while the House of Representatives will be back on the 19th of September. What is important to remember is that the House has already passed legislation in regards to online casino and poker gaming, ready for legalization to begin. It is the Senate that needs to get to work, which will hopefully happen once they are back in session next week.

The Senate has worked on the subject of online gambling in the past, having focused efforts last year but now the body of government needs to get started, especially if the state wants to see the funds needed added to the budget from what online gambling can provide.

What’s the Status?

Just a few weeks ago, the House and Senate were able to come to an agreement that the budget plan for the state would include $100 million in revenues that would come from gaming. Most of this amount would be provided via the licensing fees required from online gambling. When this happened, the two groups decided to pass legislation in the fall to see the revenues generated.

After the budget deal was decided, there was little talk from legislators about an online gambling measure or expansion package. There was however, changes made in the gambling industry of the state. A tax increase was placed on table games within land base venues to help provide additional monies to the state.

What and When?

The bill that is being considered is HB 2150, a measure that the House agreed to that involves online gambling. This measure was amended to include daily fantasy sports. However, this is not to say that this bill will be the one that legalizes online casino gaming in the state. One could assume that if a new bill is created, the language would be similar to HB 2150. When this bill will actually come up for a vote is anybody’s guess. In theory, the bill could be voted on at any time. However, the legislative bodies are not reporting a specific date in which the option will be discussed.

For now, the state of Pennsylvania seems to be the favorite to pass legislation in regards to online casino gaming. It seems as though the state is headed in the right direction to see legislation put in place, but of course, this could change. In the past, efforts have been stalled due to subjects like video gaming terminals being added to clubs and taverns.

For now, we know that the state needs funds. Legislators took months to be able to decide on a budget framework and online gambling was included in the agreed upon plan. Essentially we just have to wait and see what happens. Hopefully, legislators will be able to review a bill quickly and pass a measure with a vote so 2016 will see at least one state join Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey by offering real money online gambling options.