A piece of legislation that would legalize Pennsylvania online poker and gambling may have hit a rough patch as the legislature and governor try to come to terms on a budget deal.
The latest on online poker in PA
Earlier this week, the House of Representatives passed a gambling bill that authorizes online gambling and poker in state and creates an expansion of slot machines. Before that, the House set up that vote by amending a bill that would regulate daily fantasy sports.
That bill, though, has come under a bit of fire in the Senate. According to the Associated Press:
House Republicans have not unveiled details of a package of tax increases on tobacco products, including cigarettes. But their proposal to expand gambling – including making Pennsylvania the fourth state to legalize internet gambling – has hit strong opposition in the Senate.
The gambling expansion effort comes as the state is trying to pass a budget for the fiscal year that started July 1. However, the AP reported that the Senate had sent its members home on Friday, despite indications a new gambling bill would crop up:
3/ There is appetite among #PA Senate Rs *and* Ds to use gaming revenue in budget. A Senate bill is exp. to materialize b/t now and July 3.
— Chris Krafcik (@CKrafcik) June 30, 2016
Unless the Senate decides to come back over the weekend, however, it appears budget discussions — and what to do with online gambling — will be tackled next week.
What is the source of the opposition?
Some of the opposition is known: the Sheldon Adelson-backed Sands Bethlehem is against online gambling, and Parx Casino in Philadelphia has been lobbying against it, as well.
What else senators might take issue with in the gambling bill is unknown. It’s also not clear that the opposition from Parx and Sands alone could scuttle the bill.
There continues to be a sentiment that online gambling is something that doesn’t go on already in Pennsylvania, when in fact it happens regularly at offshore, unregulated websites. The latest example of someone thinking online gambling regulation is an “expansion of gambling” came from the York Dispatch.