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Representative Matzie introduces Pennsylvania sports betting bill

Pennsylvania Representative Robert Matzie has followed up on his pledge to push for legal sports betting in the state, filing a bill to allow casinos and licensed facilities to accept wagers on sporting events.

Matzie's bill looks to amend Title 4 (Amusements) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes and expand the state Gaming Control Board's powers to cover sports betting, should the existing federal prohibition be lifted.

Matzie said New Jersey's Supreme Court appeal over its sports betting legislation had given him hope that a precedent may be set to expand wagering across the US, where only Nevada, Oregon, Delaware and Montana are currently authorised to offer sports betting.
"Sports betting is a $400 billion business in the United States," Matzie said. "Most of that betting takes place illegally, through bookies and off-shore wagering companies. This bill would position Pennsylvania's casinos to be among the leaders in sports betting as soon as the legal hurdles are removed."

He also cited President Donald Trump's administration as a reason to be positive, noting that the former reality TV star and casino owner has voiced his support for sports betting legalisation on “at least two occasions".

House Bill 519 would permit Pennsylvania's 12 licensed casinos to offer sports betting to patrons, requiring operators to pay a non-refundable $5m authorisation fee, as well as a 16 per cent tax to the state General Fund. They will also be required to pay a $250,000 licence renewal fee.

"Our Commonwealth is uniquely positioned to oversee sports betting in all its forms," Matzie added. "We should be ready to act should the federal ban be lifted. Legalizing sports betting will simply enable Pennsylvania to regulate a multi-million dollar industry that already exists."

The bill has been referred to the House Gaming Oversight Committee.

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