No Online Gambling For Pennsylvania This YearPublished December 17, 2015 by Elana K
This week, the Pennsylvania House rejected a bill that would legalize online gambling in the Keystone State. That doesn't mean proponents won't try again next year.
2016 will not be the year that online gambling becomes legalized in Pennsylvania, according to an announcement made by Rep. John Payne a few days ago. For a while back in 2015, it looked like Payne’s online gambling bill, HB 649, was going to be passed, as it received support from 18 out of 26 members of the House Gaming Oversight Committee. But internal disagreements between republicans in the House and in the Senate led the House to reject the bill for 2016, leaving lawmakers in a bit of a lurch surrounding Pennsylvania's budget deficit.
How Would Online Gaming Benefit Pennsylvania?
The bill to regulate online gambling was originally approved by the House Gaming Oversight Committee because members realized that the revenue generated from this industry could be an effective solution for making up some of the state’s budget deficit.
In fact, the majority of House republicans believe that online gambling could generate as much as $120 million in tax revenue plus $10 million in licensing fees. But that revenue won’t be seen this year.
If the Bill is Approved for 2017
Payne’s bill will enable casino operators to offer real-money poker and casino games online to people located within Pennsylvania state boundaries. The bill would also allow the installation of slot machines at airports and at the OTB venues of racetrack operators in Pennsylvania.
But a lot can still happen over the course of the year, and there will undoubtedly be some amendments and changes, which hopefully make the bill more likely to be passed.
Online Gambling in the United States
As of now, only three states have legalized online gambling: Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware. At the federal level, a bill is being pushed that would ban online gambling (RAWA), but it doesn’t look like it will be passed. As long as RAWA doesn’t receive approval, more states will be open to legalizing online gambling.