The latest on PA online poker and gambling
The state legislature passed a budget spending plan — one that Gov. Tom Wolf says he intends to allow to become law.
Now all that’s left is for the statehouse and Wolf to come to terms on how to pay for spending increases. One of the things in play all along has been a gambling expansion package that features the legalization of Pennsylvania online casinos and poker sites, along with daily fantasy sports regulation.
That gambling expansion involves a lot of moving parts — including slot machines being authorized in new locations. But according to a story at CDC Gaming Reports, online gambling appears not to be on the chopping block:
State Rep. George Dunbar, R-Westmoreland County, called regulation of Internet gaming and Daily Fantasy Sports a “no-brainer” but said other proposals, such as locating slots at off-track-betting parlors, are more contentious.
Online gambling could have gained that status because of its ability to generate nine figures in revenue for the state in licensing fees and taxes.
What’s next for PA’s budget and gambling?
The House has already passed a version of the gambling expansion bill — after it suddenly appeared as a part of budget discussions — but the Senate has not yet taken it up.
Earlier reports have indicated the latter chamber will come up with its own gambling plan, as the House version has elicited “strong opposition.” Some of that opposition has been against the iGaming plan, including from major casino Sands Bethlehem.
If Wolf allows the spending plan to take effect — and if the state wants to avoid a potential lawsuit for enacting an unbalanced budget — then a revenue package will have to be passed as well today.
So will online gambling be involved?
That package seems likely to include a gambling component, at this point, as lawmakers are tentative to raise taxes, and alternative means of raising funds have not been floated.
How much insight Dunbar might actually have into the Senate’s plans is a variable, as the House and Senate obviously do not see eye-to-eye.
Nevertheless, today could be an important day for the future of online poker in PA; the Senate is scheduled to convene this afternoon.