Pennsylvania State Plan To Introduce New Poker Bill

New Poker Bill Pennsylvania

A House Co-Sponsorship Memorandum was filed by two Pennsylvania House members on Wednesday, announcing an upcoming legislation that they plan to introduce that would legalize and regulate online gambling in the state. A month ago State Senator Jay Costa tried to implement the same thing. Like Costa, Representative George DunbarandRepresentative Rosita C. Youngblood did not provide an exact date as to when to expect the bill to be introduced, only stating that it would be “in the near future.”

The House of Representatives did pass a gambling bill in 2016. The Senate never even voted on the bill.

The memorandum lists a dozen features:

  • Regulate and tax iGaming;
  • Fix the local share assessment issue by requiring all casinos, except Category 3 casinos, to pay a $10 million fee to host municipalities;
  • Allow gaming tablets in international airport;
  • Impose consumer protections on and tax online fantasy sports operators;
  • Remove the Category 3 casino amenity requirement;
  • Permit gaming manufactures to utilize private laboratories to test gaming devices;
  • Streamline non-gaming vendor registration requirements;
  • Authorize the PGCB to create new regulations to allow for new types of slot machines;
  • Increase license, permit and registration renewal periods;
  • Allow multi-state linkage of slot machines to increase jackpots; and,
  • Require uniform advertisement of the problem gaming assistance number.
  • The first bullet point shows that the gambling bill would regulate and tax online gambling; poker is listed in that. 2016’s bill allowed for the state’s dozen casinos to apply for licenses, which would cost $8 million each. Gaming operators and software providers that want to partner with such casinos would also have permission to apply for licenses.

    The installation of gaming tablets in airports was part of a larger conflict surrounding last year’s bill. One version of the bill would have allowed a significant expansion of video gaming terminals (VGTs) throughout Pennsylvania, into places like taverns. The casinos were firmly against this, as they feared they would lose business. The final bill removed that language but still permitted for VGTs into airports.

    While this House memorandum only provided high-level points and did not give expansive details as to any regulations, Senator Jay Costa did offer some insight in his memo. The online gambling licensing fee for the state’s casinos would total to $10 million in his bill, while the fee for technology partners would be $5 million. Operators would face taxes up to 25 percent of their internet  gaming revenue, much higher than was indicated in last year’s House bill. The money obtained would be earmarked for property tax relief and economic development projects.