Will Pennsylvania Be the Next State to Legalize iGaming?
Pennsylvania lawmakers are planning to debate legislation that would legalize online gambling in the state. The bill has provisions for igambling, daily fantasy sports, multi-state progressive slot machines, skill-based and hybrid slots, and more, along with extra funding for problem-gambling initiatives. Governor Tom Wolf has already earmarked $250 million for the state budget, signaling the bill’s likely passage.
The Pennsylvania House Gaming Oversight Committee is planning a hearing on February 16 to debate legislation that would legalize online gambling in the state.
House Bill 392, sponsored by Representative George Dunbar with seven co-sponsors, has provisions for legalizing online gambling and daily fantasy sports. It would also authorize multi-state progressive slot machines and tablet gaming at some airports, and allow for skill-based and hybrid slot machines, according to OnlinePokerReport.com.
The bill would remove the casino amenity requirement on Category 3 casinos in exchange for a one-time fee, and provide increased funding for problem-gambling initiatives.
More details about HB 392 are available here.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has earmarked $250 million for the state budget, which signals that he is banking on the passage of the online gambling bill.
The bill offers a solution to a local tax-share issue that came up last fall, after a Pennsylvania court ruled that tax-share payments in the Gaming Act of 2004 were unconstitutional because they favored certain casinos, YogoNet.com reports.
Since the ruling, state lawmakers have been looking for ways to avoid a $50,000 budget shortfall.
The suggested revenue streams for the legalization of online gambling in Pennsylvania include a one-time $8 million fee for an interactive gaming license, a $2 million licensing fee for each interactive gaming operator, a $250,000 renewal fee for interactive gaming licensees and a $100,000 fee for interactive gaming.
The tax rate for online gambling operators would be 14 percent of gross gaming revenue, plus a 2 percent tax on gross gaming revenue that the state has earmarked for host communities.
HB 392 is not the state of Pennsylvania’s first attempt to legalize iGaming. Last year, lawmakers attempted unsuccessfully to pass different online gambling bills.