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Pennsylvania Online Gambling Bill Approves House Committee

Pennsylvania online gambling seems bound to find its way to the state’s almost 13 million residents.

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Last Wednesday Pennsylvania’s House Gaming Oversight Committee, after months of postponements and hold-over, moved the legislation ahead to authorize the market.

State Rep. John Payne (R-District 106) along with chairing the Gaming Oversight Committee also authored HB 649, the bill that received the committee’s endorsing in Harrisburg.

In an 18-8 vote, representatives decided to forward the proposition to its chamber’s floor for extended discussion and a likely upcoming vote.

After the meeting, Payne told reporters “We’re not authorizing it, we’re going to regulate it. Internet gaming is already occurring.”

John Pappas, Poker Players Alliance Executive Director wrote in a presser, “The safety of consumers and the fiscal health of Pennsylvania will be vastly improved when Internet gaming is appropriately licensed, regulated and taxed.”

Payne’s bill moving to the House floor is a crushing stroke to the opponents of Internet gambling.The billionaire owner of the Las Vegas Sands casino empire Sheldon Adelson spent an incalculable amount of millions in order to cop with the emerging industry.

To Stop Internet Gambling at a rate that can only be rivaled by DraftKigs and FanDuel the Pennsylvania media is bombarded with commercials from Adelson’s Coalition.

In exchange for a $5 million licensing fee, HB 649 will be authorizing online gaming operators to offer casino games including poker to Pennsylvanians.  A 14 percent tax would be levied on Daily gross revenues and will be paid to the state on weekly basis.

Pennsylvania is the country’s sixth most populated state and Payne’s bill did also point at interstate compacts, that may importantly promote Internet poker liquidity in the struggling markets like Delaware and Nevada.

“Authorized interactive gaming, once fully developed, will allow persons in this Commonwealth to participate in interactive gaming, not only with other persons in this Commonwealth, but with persons in other cooperating United States jurisdictions where interactive gaming has been authorized,” Payne’s proposal states.

Tom Wolf (D), First-term Governor intends to raise the sales tax in order to spend the increased amount primarily on education. The governor and the Republican-controlled legislature are at odds over the budget; it’s now for more than 140 days that the state is into a stalemate.

One unintentional corollary of the impasse is that it has given fuel to Payne’s fire; lawmakers across the state are searching for ways to increase additional revenues without putting the burden on the general public.

 

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