Pennsylvania Gambling Legislation Stalls, Momentarily

Lee R. - July 14, 2016

Other states are silently watching to see if online gambling will be included.

Hope for regulation in a fourth state in the US, Pennsylvania hit a minor road bump.

Cause for optimism

On the heels of an optimism-yielding Pennsylvania House of Representatives approval of a legislative package for online gambling and daily fantasy sports, slots at off-track betting parlors and in six state airports offering mobile games to waiting passengers, Gov. Tom Wolf signed the spending portion of the state’s budget over the weekend.

Final hurdle

The final step is the investment revenue portion, which legislators hoped to pass on Tuesday, or Wednesday at the latest.

Fall realistic

However, the Associated Press now quotes Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Browne saying “the gambling legislation would not be included in any revenue plan passed this week.” He updated the approval ETA to the fall, further acknowledging that the state has already deemed the estimated $100m gambling revenue yield the primary solution to its budget gap.


Asked about the fiscal impact of deferring resolution, a candid Brown provided a message of hope for iGaming stakeholders: “One hundred million dollars in the scope of a $31.5 billion budget … it’s not needed right away. But if it’s probable? You can book something that is probable.”

That probability scales all the way up to a 400 million dollar revenue windfall at highest estimates, requiring investment in all possible forms of gambling, including the online format.


Pennsylvania remains likely to become the fourth state to regulate gambling in the fall. The question is whether online gambling will be included in the state´s investment.

Influencing Factors

Factors that could influence inclusion of online gambling provisions include the casino table gaming tax increase from 12 percent to 14 percent, increasing demand for online operation and play as an alternative; and increased availability of slot machines in the state, when there are so many popular slot games available online as among the most popular online forms of gambling in general.

Watching State Sentiments

Other states reported to be taking a closer look at the results include West Virginia, where State Lottery spokesman John Myers acknowledged that his staff is closely monitoring the developments:“…to stay competitive, we’ll have to consider these (results)...”


Whether Penn approval and inclusion starts a trend of more states regulating online gambling remains to be seen. It would certainly increase the likelihood.

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