Online Gambling Bill Coming Up for Vote in Pennsylvania
It has been reported that the Pennsylvania Gaming Oversight Committee will be holding a vote on an online gambling bill, HB 649.
The vote has been expected for a while and furthermore, it is expected to pass. The Gaming Oversight Committee’s Chairman and the sponsor of the bill, Representative Payne, has stated that a vote on online gambling is on the cards and that poker expansion is a viable addition to the state budget.
It is not yet clear if online gambling will be the only gaming reform voted on by the Committee, but it seems to be the key reform that the legislature is focusing on. Furthermore, it seems to be the gaming reform with the most support.
In its current form HB 649 would legalise and regulate online gambling in the state with a few requirements. Operator licenses would only be available to the state’s land casinos but online gaming companies will be allowed to partner with casinos, the licensing fee will be $5 million with the state collecting a 14% tax on gross gaming revenue and the bill would give law enforcement the ability to punish unlicensed operators.
However, it is thought that a number of reforms may be added to the bill. These include online lottery sales, easing regulation covering “tavern gaming”, the regulating of games of skill, the addition of slot machines at airports and off-track betting parlours, and increasing the numbers of hours that casinos can serve alcohol.
Regardless of whether these reforms are added, even if the bill is voted on in its current form it would be a major step forward for gambling fans in Pennsylvania.