Revenue Wanted: Online Gambling Bill Introduced in Pennsylvania

Old Main Pennsylvania

Add Pennsylvania to the growing list of states looking for a boost in revenue via online gambling sooner rather than later.

Citing a recent study suggesting Internet Gaming would be a "large new source of revenue," Rep. John Payne introduced bill HB649 into Pennsylvania legislature this week.

His primary motivation?

To make up a $2b budget shortfall, bring in new revenue without raising taxes and compete with nearby states (New Jersey, Delaware) that have already legalized online gaming and are impacting current licensed casinos in Pa.

Full Text to Come; Early Line Says $5m License Fee

While the full bill is still to be finalized Payne did release a few details. In his House Co-Sponsorship Memorandum Payne said the bill will:

  • Require all internet gaming to be conducted under the current gaming licensees.
  • Require a licensing fee of $5 million per license.
  • Tax all gross interactive gaming revenue at 14%
New Jersey
Is New Jersey drawing revenue out of Pennsylvania?

Payne also cited developments in technology, recent legal decisions and a need for a strong regulatory framework to protect against unregulated gaming sites as reasons for Pennsylvania pushing its online gambling agenda forward.

In a statement about the bill Payne said:

“The implementation of legalized online gaming in Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware demonstrates the technologies exist to regulate Internet gaming safely and effectively.

“This legislation is the first step toward ensuring future growth as the industry expands.”

Payne is the Chair of the House Gaming Oversight Commission which will hold a hearing about the bill in April.

California has also continued its push to legalize online poker in 2015 with four bills currently under consideration.

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