Pennsylvania Senate Does Not Approve House Budget Plan

by Kyle Miller

PennsylvaniaThe Pennsylvania House budget plan was not approved by the state Senate, which means even more delays for online gaming in the state.

Pennsylvania has been poised to be the next state to offer online gaming in the US for some time now. All eyes have been on the state as they seem to be the closest to passing legislation that would legalize and regulate online casino and poker game play. However, it seems that lawmakers cannot get on the same page when it comes to agreeing on legislation and what should or should not be approved. Just recently, the House approved a budget plan that would put in motion an expansion of online gaming. However, the Senate has not approved the plan.

Senate Rejection

It was expected that the Pennsylvania Senate would vote down the package that was approved by the House just a short time ago. The package was to provide over $2 billion new revenues but in large part by sources that will only provide monies one time. The Senate voted 43 to 7 against the measure. The overwhelming vote against the measure shows how unpopular the plan was within the Senate. Not to forget that the plan barely passed within the House.

As the state began to take more and more time to pass a budget, steps had to be taken that were not necessarily something that legislators wanted to do. Short term loan authorization has stopped as the state ran out of money and the budget is needed to drastically begin bringing in funds for the state.

A completed budget would be nice to see but it seems a stalemate within legislature has prevented such a plan from being created. The House has ideas as to how they would like to see gambling expanded in the state while the Senate does too. None are in agreement which has led to a halt in any legislation being moved forward or passed into law.

Included in the Packages

The revenue packages created by the House and Senate both include $225 million that is to come to the state via gaming. The majority of this revenue should come from online gaming. However, the money cannot exist without legislation in place to legalize and regulate the activity. Despite the House budget plan being rejected, the state is still discussing online gambling. Negotiations are ongoing and many feel that a plan can come to fruition by combining elements of the Republican plan and one that has the support of the Governor and Senate.

Basically, a compromise needs to be reached in order to ensure both sides are happy with the outcome. It seems as though a compromise is taking place, but what that will actually entail is anyone’s guess. It is likely that online gambling will be included as well as other possible expansions within the industry. It could be that those in favor of video gaming terminals and satellite casinos will be willing to let go of these sticking points in order to see an expansion finally take place so that the state can begin to reap the benefits from new gaming options.

Licensing fees would provide upfront money to the state and additional funds would come in each year. On top of that, the tax rate set for online gaming would also help the state by providing even more money.

For now, it seems to be yet another stone in the road so to speak. We shall see in the coming weeks what happens in Pennsylvania and if any positive moves are made to see the industry finally open up to more gaming options, helping the state to bring in much-needed funds for the budget.