of Representatives has passed an amendment that proposes to expand various forms
of gambling across the state, including online gambling and fantasy sports
The amendment to
Representative George Dunbar’s HB2150 was introduced by Representative Rosita
Youngblood just after a similar amendment failed, but which included the
authorisation of video gaming terminals (VGTs) in 13,000 bars and taverns
across the state – a proposal which has been opposed by licensed casino
operators and the state lottery.
The House voted
against that amendment Wednesday by a vote of 116-79, before Representative
Youngblood introduced her amendment A08734.
This would regulate
fantasy sports contests, with licensees paying a 5 per cent tax based on
in-state participation, and iGaming, which would be taxed at 14 per cent for
the state and 2 per cent for economic development projects. It does not mention
VGTs, but allows casinos to seek approval to operate slot machines at an
international airport in Pennsylvania.
regulatory, licensing and enforcement system for Interactive gaming in this
Commonwealth would inhibit underage wagering and otherwise protect vulnerable
individuals, ensure that the games offered through the Internet are fair and
safe, stop sending much-needed jobs, tax and other revenue offshore to illegal
operators, provide a significant source of taxable revenue, create jobs and economic
development and address the concerns of law enforcement,” read the
amendment, which passed by a vote of 115-80 in favour.
It would authorise and
regulate internet poker and other online casino games, similar to language
introduced by Representative John Payne’s HB649 bill earlier this year.
The Poker Players
Alliance (PPA), the poker grassroots advocacy group, applauded the Pennsylvania
House for the passage of a bill to license and regulate internet poker and
other forms of online gaming in the state.
“It is about time -
this legislation is long overdue. Pennsylvanians deserve robust consumer
protections and today the Pennsylvania House delivered,” said John Pappas,
executive director of the PPA. “Additionally, this legislation will create jobs
and help the Commonwealth close its budget gap.
legislation is a win-win for Pennsylvania. The online poker community urges the
Senate and Governor Wolf to act swiftly to approve this measure. Today’s vote
is a great step forward not just for our members, but for all Pennsylvanians.
It is time that this legislation be made into law so all of the state’s
residents can benefit from online consumer protections.”
Bill 2150 now moves to
the House Appropriations Committee for further approval, before it returns to
the House for another vote. It then needs to get approval from the Pennsylvania
State Senate, before being signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf.