Pennsylvania lawmakers launch new efforts to pass iGaming regulation

Lawmakers in Pennsylvania's House of Representatives and Senate have prepared new efforts to pass iGaming regulation in the state, with each proposal pledging to resolve key stumbling blocks that have previously prevented legislation from passing.
This has seen a new, wide-ranging gambling bill introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, looking to resurrect key points of last year's HB1887. This bill passed the House in October last year, but failed to make it through the Senate.

The newly introduced House Bill 392, described as "omnibus gambling legislation," aims to ensure a return to areas of the state that host gambling facilities by requiring all casinos, except Category 3 venues, to pay a $10m fee to host municipalities.

It will regulate and tax iGaming at a rate of 14 per cent of gross gaming revenue, with an additional 2 per cent levy to be paid to host communities. The bill also imposes consumer protections and a 12 per cent quarterly revenue tax on online fantasy sports, as well as allowing gaming tablets in airports.

Wide-area progressive jackpots will also be permitted under the House proposals, with the state Gaming Control Board also given power to authorise new forms of slot games. Private games testing laboratories will also be permitted, allowing manufacturers to test new content.
The Representatives behind the bill, George Dunbar and Rosita Youngblood, believe iGaming regulations are vital to ensure the Pennsylvania gaming industry to adapt to increased competition from other states.

"Additionally, the PGCB needs to be provided with the regulatory authority to safely and responsibly allow innovative gaming technologies to be offered to consumers in Pennsylvania," they said.

The House bill has been passed to the Gaming Oversight Committee for further inspection.

In the Pennsylvania Senate, a trio of Republicans, Thomas McGarrigle, Thomas Killion and Guy Reschenthaler, have pledged to introduce similar wide-ranging legislation to expand gambling in the state.

They will also propose allowing internet gambling provided it is conducted by land-based operators already licensed in the state, requiring licensees to pay a $10m fee to the state. Interactive gambling will also be allowed at the state's airports via "multi-use computing devices" provided the operators pay a $2m fee, while a $5m levy will be imposed on iGaming vendors.
It will tackle the issue of ensuring a return to Pennsylvania's municipalities - the so-called local share assessment - by setting a tax rate of 15 per cent of gross gaming revenue. Of this sum 13 per cent will go to the state General Fund, with the remaining 2 per cent to the local share assessment.

Fantasy contests will also be taxed, paying a 12 per cent levy on quarterly adjusted revenues from contests.

"iGaming has already been authorized in nearby states that directly competes with our current licensed brick and mortar casinos," the Senators explained. "Many Pennsylvania residents participate in illegal and unregulated gaming sites.

"Establishing a strong iGaming regulatory framework under the Gaming Control Board will assist in shutting down these illegal sites and enhance consumer protection for our gaming residents."

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