Pennsylvania House of Representatives Passes Sweeping Gambling Regulation
Late Wednesday, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed new gambling legislation that will expand casino-style gambling to the Internet, airports, bars and other settings that should help the state’s government deal with a massive deficit in the immediate future. It was a last-ditch effort to raise hundreds of millions to try and help prop-up the state’s threadbare treasury.
This new bill marks Pennsylvania’s biggest gambling expansion since the state legalized casinos back in 2004. That law made Pennsylvania the nation’s No. 2 commercial casino revenue state. This same legislation failed to pass a year ago, but this time it was passed by a 102-89 vote.
Video Gaming Terminals
The new bill states that any venue that holds a liquor license (bar, truck stop, bowling alley, etc.) will be allowed to operate a slot machine-style gambling machine. As many as 40,000 terminals would be allowed on a statewide basis, with no more than five video gaming terminals allowed at any location other than truck stops, which may operate up to 10.
Supporters of the bill believe that 7,000-8,000 bars and establishments around Pennsylvania could legitimately be expected to host at least one terminal whose tax revenue will go to the state, lottery, establishment and local governments.
Opponents of the bill warned that it could cause a new wave of gambling addiction all over Pennsylvania that would take money away from schools and other establishments.
Internet Portals and DFS
Most local casinos supported the provision in the bill that would allow them to establish a new Internet portal to bring their games to an online market. The new bill will also allow participants to play the lottery online, which marks the first time a state has legalized the playing of casino and lottery games on the Internet.
The bill also included aspects of daily fantasy sports regulation. The House bill raised the tax rate on daily fantasy sports operators from 12 percent to 19 percent, and lowered the minimum age to participate in DFS from 21 to 18. DFS regulation is not thought to be a major sticking point in the bill, which will now head back to the state Senate for approval. .
Back to Senate
There’s no telling how this bill will be received by the Senate. The video gaming terminals was a not part of the senate’s bill that initially went to the House for approval, so it could meet some opposition over there. House Majority Leader Dave Reed believes the House’s bill has built on the Senate’s and will enhance the state’s revenue a bit further.
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