iGaming still on the table in Pennsylvania following House amendment

Pennsylvania lawmakers could still pass online gambling legislation this year after the state's House of Representatives amended a bill to reform gaming administration and enforcement policies, adding in provisions for iGaming and fantasy sports regulation.

HB1887 was initially amended and approved by the Senate to include language to resolve an issue centring on the tax that is paid by land-based venues.

The language of the original bill ordered casinos to pay either 2 per cent of slot revenue or $10m to communities where the venues are based, giving the tax rate a spread of between 4.55 and 10.43 per cent due to the varying revenue generated at each location.

This varying tax rate was ruled unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court following a legal challenge by the Mount Airy Casino resort.

Following amendments by the Senate to address this issue, the legislation was sent back to the House where lawmakers this week introduced further amendments to regulate iGaming and Fantasy Sports Contests.

The iGaming amendments were based on HB2150, which was approved by 114 votes to 85 in the House in June, but not taken up by the Senate.

This would allow companies to offer daily fantasy sports (DFS) contests to Pennsylvania players, taxed at 5 per cent of revenue. It would also legalise online gambling, taxing operators at 14 per cent of gross gaming revenue, with companies also required to pay an additional 2 per cent to economic development projects.

The amended bill HB1887 was passed Thursday with 108 Representatives voting in favour and 71 against. It now passes back to the Senate, which will examine the legislation when it reconvenes on November 16th, after the US Presidential Election on November 8th.


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