Despite the US presidential election taking up many of the daily headlines across the nation, there are a lot of other matters besides the next president that are going to be voted on in the coming weeks. For one, Pennsylvania is currently engaged in a battle that, if won, would see online casinos regulated and legalized like what you will currently find in New Jersey. This is something that has been discussed for a while now, but it seems as though some progress is finally being made.
Even though both the House and the Senate of Pennsylvania have adjourned until the middle parts of November, there was recently a major development in the House. A bill that would allow for most forms of gambling to be available online in a legalized and regulated setting was passed in the House by a resounding vote of 108-71. In addition to allowing legalized online gambling across the state, the bill would also allow for gambling to take place in each of Pennsylvania’s international airports, of which there are 6.
Another big point of contention included in the bill is a mandate that would force brick and mortar casinos to pump millions of dollars into the local communities where they reside. Many casino operators have called this aspect of the bill Unconstitutional. Judging from that, this bill is surely going to face some pretty heavy opposition should it make its way through the Senate come November. Finally, the bill that would legalize online gambling will also include the legalization and regulation of daily fantasy sports. New York recently experienced some controversy when they made daily fantasy sports for real money illegal, but then quickly turned around and reversed that decision. In Pennsylvania right now anyone can play daily fantasy sports, however it is not strictly legal to do so and the industry is wholly unregulated. When it comes down to it, regulation is the number one topic. With regulation, not only are there added protections for users, but there will also be taxes levied against online gambling operations. These taxes would create fresh revenue streams for the state, and it is no secret that this is something that is very much needed.
This same bill passed a vote by the House back in the summer, but when it reached the Senate it stalled and was more or less forgotten about. This time around there is a lot of hope being held out that not only will the Senate approve it, but approve it quickly. Governor Tom Wolf is as liberal as they come and you can gain an understanding of this thanks to his views regarding the privatization of liquor sales in the state as well as his quick approval of a medical marijuana law, which was passed only a few months ago.
Pennsylvania is seeing neighboring states like New Jersey and Delaware get a head start on legalized and regulated networks of online casinos, and this is doing nothing other than seeing potential PA gambling revenue cross the border and be earned by the two aforementioned states. In recent years, Pennsylvania has become much more open to the idea of gambling and a once conservative stance is growing increasingly liberal. Understanding this it seems as though this most recent bill might have a chance to pass, but with the speed at which the government operates no one would be surprised to see it stall once more. What we do know, however, is that if this bill is passed in the Senate and moved to Tom Wolf’s desk, he will more than likely sign it. So, while we would like to say that PA is on the verge of setting up an intrastate network of online casinos, there is still a lot that needs to happen before this can come to fruition.