It’s official: Pennsylvania has become the 4th state in the U.S. to have legalized online gambling. Last week, Governor Tom Wolf signed a bill that had been approved by both the Pennsylvania House and Senate; the bill allows regulated online gambling, daily fantasy sports (DFS), and the addition of more brick-and-mortar casinos, among other things.
Pennsylvania now joins Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey in allowing regulated online gambling within state borders.
It’s Been a Long Journey
The path toward legalizing online gambling in Pennsylvania was a tumultuous one. Lawmakers had been discussing the issue for at least 5 years, and it seemed that for every step forward, there were two steps backward.
While lawmakers like Rep. George Dunbar and former Rep. John Payne championed a number of online gambling bills (that ultimately failed), the endeavor also received strong opposition from those who claimed it would hurt the state’s traditional casino industry. And while the debate raged on, Pennsylvania continued to drown in its multi-billion dollar debt.
Online Gambling’s First Earnings
Since HB 271 was signed by Governor Wolf, Pennsylvania has already made its first million dollars in revenue. The $1 million was paid by Valley Forge Casino in order to open its casino to the public (previously it had only been open to guests, membership holders, and patrons.)
If all goes according to plan, this will be just the beginning of Pennsylvania’s earnings from online gambling.
The new law includes a $10 million licensing fee for existing casinos that want to offer online services, as well a 16% tax on online poker and table game revenue and a 54% tax on online slots revenue.
According to Chris Grove, a gambling industry analyst, Pennsylvania could see an initial $100 million just in licensing fees. That’s reason enough for Pennsylvania to feel pretty good about itself right about now.