Pennsylvania Senate to Vote on Fixed Online Gambling Bill in November

Published October 30, 2016 by Ivan P

Pennsylvania Senate to Vote on Fixed Online Gambling Bill in November

Pennsylvania Senate will be voting on an online gambling bill in November, but additional stipulations contained in the bill could stop it in its tracks.

The House of Representatives in Pennsylvania forwarded the online gaming bill to the Senate, with 108 representatives voting in favor and 71 against the bill. Senators should be voting on the bill sometime mid-November.

Budget Deficit and Burning Taxation Issues

The portion of the bill covering online gambling segment is basically good to go. Pennsylvania is counting on the projected $100 million this sector would contribute to the state's budget. However, the bill covers much more than just online gaming.

A month ago, the Supreme Court sided with Mount Airy casino in their lawsuit against the state. The ruling covered the local portion of the tax, which all casinos not based in Philadelphia had to pay to their respective municipalities.

According to this law, casinos had to pay either 2% of their slots revenue or $10 million fixed (whichever was higher) in taxes, which created unfavorable conditions for smaller casinos. The Supreme Court ruled this law to be unconstitutional and gave legislators four-months window to fix it.

The fixed bill, now in in the hands of the Senate, proposes a fix for this law, but not all senators are amenable.

Pennsylvania and Online Gambling

Pennsylvania has been trying to pass an online gambling bill for some time now. As mentioned, the state calculated that regulated gambling would bring a significant revenue which could be used for different valuable projects.

The bill covers online gambling, online poker, as well as daily fantasy sports, and it has finally been shaped in such a manner as to satisfy a majority of stakeholders. However, the fact that this very sensitive taxation issues is a part of the same bill could create some problems.

Local legislators are facing a real dilemma, where they have to choose between potentially costing local municipalities millions of dollars in revenue from brick & mortar casino or passing an opportunity to generate additional income through regulated online gambling.

At this point in time, it remains unclear which side will prevail.

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