Online Gambling Legislation Efforts Still In The Running for 2017

by Kyle Miller

Online Gambling LegislationFor 2017, there are four states remaining that have the possibility to pass legislation to offer online gambling for real money.

Last ditch efforts are being made this year by four states to hopefully see online gambling legislation come to fruition. It seems almost every year, there are states that have the ability to pass such legislation, but bills always fall through for some reason or another. For the remainder of the year, we continue to watch Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Hampshire and Illinois as they vie for a spot in the online gambling industry.

Where We Stand

Each state is at a different point when it comes to passing online gambling legislation. Pennsylvania seems to be the closet to moving forward with legislation as the money produced by iGaming is needed to meet a major budget shortfall. Over the past few weeks, tensions have risen in the state among lawmakers as no decisions can seem to be made in regards to a budget passing and what should be included by way of gambling expansions.

During a recent two-week recess, the House was able to pass a budget funding proposal and reportedly this effort will continue and see the gaming package and budget efforts finalized this week. With a framework for the budget in place, lawmakers are expected to finish up the gaming bill and then see as much as $265 million produced for the state by the new gaming expansions, online gaming included.

It is believed that the bill will include the legalization of online casino and poker games, online lottery ticket sales, daily fantasy sports legalization, satellite casinos, airports offering tablet gaming and a repair for the local share tax. While it seems the state is on the right track, anything could happen to put such plans in jeopardy, as seems to be the status quo for the state.

In Illinois, a veto session is about to begin with three days in October and three in November where online gambling legislation could be reviewed. Lawmakers have the opportunity to review bills that could lead to the legalization of online for the state.

For Michigan, there are still active bills located in the House and Senate. Online gambling and daily fantasy sports are under consideration in the state. Representative Brandt Iden would like to see legislation move forward before the upcoming holidays.

In New Hampshire, a bill that was introduced months ago is not back up for consideration. H 562 is a placeholder bill that could become eligible for a full vote by lawmakers later on this year. Online lottery sales were approved in the state just a few months ago, which shows that lawmakers are not so opposed to online gaming.

Waiting Game

Like every year since online gaming began in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware, it’s a waiting game. We have watched as state after state has created legislation over the past few years only to see the measures fall short of passage. Pennsylvania has been on the radar for the past few years, having the potential to see legislation move forward. However, each year, something gets in the way. It seems we keep saying, ‘if not this year, next year’.

With Pennsylvania and the other interested states, at least having the discussion keeps the industry on the radar and will hopefully see at least one state join this year or perhaps next year. Only a short time frame remains before the year’s end and we will watch and see what comes of the four states currently considering legislation. Hopefully, at least one state will legalize and regulate online gaming, prompting other states to pass legislation as well.