Pennsylvania Representative Nicholas Miccarelli recently announced that he intends to submit a bill to regulate online poker. Miccarelli is the second state lawmaker that intends to introduce a bill to legalize online poker.
A draft of Senator Edwin Erickson’s bill has been published on OnlinePokerReport.com. Miccarelli hasn’t released a version of his bill to the public yet, but it should be available within the next week. According to memos from the state legislative website, Erickson and Miccarelli’s bills are nearly identical. Each bill was introduced in a separate house, which could increase the chances that one of them will be passed before the deadline.
Both Erickson and Miccarelli have reportedly called for a bad actor’s clause. This provision would bar any company that illegally offered online gambling to U.S. citizens from seeking an online gambling license from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. The same restriction would apply to any companies that employed individuals that facilitated illegal online gambling in the United States, even if they worked for a different company at the time.
The proposed laws would also have implications for players that used unregulated gaming sites. These players could have their winnings seized and donated to an organization that provides help for people with gambling addictions.
Both bills reportedly call for a 14% tax on all online gambling revenue. New Jersey has a 15% tax rate on all online gambling revenues, but Miccarelli and Erickson are confident that Pennsylvania will still generate more revenue. The population of Pennsylvania is nearly 50% higher, which gives them access to a much larger player base.
Some of the new taxes will be used to help fund the state’s social programs, while others will go towards a player protection fund. The protection fund will reimburse players that lose their money if a gaming provider becomes insolvent or engages in unethical conduct that threatens player accounts.