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US state of Pennsylvania in new online gaming phase

08 June 2015

Following in the footsteps of Delaware, New Jersey, Nevada, Illinois, New York, California and Massachusetts and several other states, the Pennsylvania legislature has introduced a new house bill that would regulate online gaming within the state. The bill would allow the opportunity for Land-based casinos within the state of Pennsylvania to offer slot machines, Poker, Roulette, Black Jack offerings online. The online gambling bill has been assigned the legislative committee and will be voted on by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

Spearheaded by Pennsylvania State Representative Tina Davis, the online gambling bill, similar to the law in New Jersey, will not be limited to Internet poker only. Online gaming in the new bill defines variety of table games, slot machines, and other selected gaming activities approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. State Representative Tina Davis has advised that her motivation for drafting the new bill with such an expansion, stems from the need to contend with the online gaming regimes of Pennsylvania’s bordering state, Delaware and New Jersey. While Pennsylvania has a highly successful casino industry and second to Nevada, it has finally realised the need to evolve and enter the online gaming arena.

Several amendments was added to the revised bill, most notably lowering the licensing fee from $16.7 million dollar to $5 million dollar and reducing the taxable rate on returns from 43% to 28%. It is unclear why these changes were implemented, but the revisions bring the licensing fee scheme more in line and competitive with New Jersey and Delaware. To date the revised bill has gained enormous support from state senators which includes Kim Ward, Robert Tomlinson, Elder Vogel and Joseph Scarnati.

A senate co-sponsorship memorandum outlines details of the new bill as follows: “Existing Pennsylvania casinos that offer slot machine and table games would be eligible to offer Internet gaming individual patrons that have registered and established an internet gaming account and are physically present in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania while playing online. In addition, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board and the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs would be required to develop expanded compulsive and problem gambling programs specifically related to internet gaming.” In addition to the obvious benefits associated with tax revenue and licensing fees to be received by the state which could amount to over $100 million dollars, bill representatives expects that online gaming would create thousands of new jobs for Pennsylvanians.

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