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Pennsylvania Says "Yes" To Online Gambling - House and Senate Pass HB 271

Discussion in 'CASINO NEWS' started by Mben, Jun 9, 2017.

  1. Mben

    Mben No Deposit Forum Administrator Staff Member

    Two weeks after Pennsylvania's Senate passed HB 271, a bill to legalize online gambling, the House concurred on Wednesday night, passing the bill as a gaming package that includes the legalization of online gambling and daily fantasy sports. The final vote was 102-89. Now the bill will head back to the Senate to settle differences.

    The bill would put to bed the local share tax issue, which has plagued Pennsylvania for some months, legalize online gambling and daily fantasy sports, allow the state's lottery to sell tickets online and permit tablet gaming at certain airports.

    But two significant hurdles remain: the presence of video gaming terminals at nongaming properties and the issue of the online gambling tax rate.

    The House bill seeks a 16% tax rate for all forms of online gambling with a licensing fee of $8 million. The Senate put forth an unwieldy 54% tax rate for online slots and table games with a 16% tax for online poker.

    Additionally, the bill was amended by the House to authorize the placement of video game terminals – up to five in establishments with a liquor license and up to 10 at truck stops and off-track betting parlors. Brick-and-mortar casino operators, like Rush Street Gaming and Penn National, are in favor of allowing VGTs. Others are concerned that VGTs would cannibalize casino profits.

    Michael Bailey, a spokesperson for Pennsylvanians for Responsible Government, told the Allentown Morning Call, "This proposal would destroy the brick-and-mortar casino industry and risk the nearly $1.4 billion in tax revenues that these establishments generate annually. Worse yet, because VGTs are designed to operate without employees, the 18,000 people casinos collectively employ in Pennsylvania will be put in serious jeopardy."

    If online gambling is legalized in the state, it could potentially generate over $400 million in tax revenue over the next five years, according to PlayPennsylvania.

  2. Mben

    Mben No Deposit Forum Administrator Staff Member

    The state House of Representatives quickly introduced and passed a sweeping new gambling bill Wednesday evening, which would significantly expand the industry.

    Most lawmakers only laid eyes on the nearly 700-page bill about six hours before they voted on it.

    The measure had already been amended and passed in both chambers. But in one afternoon, the House gutted it and inserted new language to include nearly every major gaming expansion proposed in the last several years.

    It now legalizes fantasy sports betting, internet gambling, gaming tablets in airports, slot machines at off-track betting parlors, and up to 40,000 video gaming terminals in places like bars, nursing homes, and truck stops.

    The bill also includes a required fix to the way casinos pay fees to their host municipalities.

    Many House members — including Bucks County Republican Scott Petri, who heads the Gaming Committee, protested the bill being brought to a vote with so little input from lawmakers.

    Petri called the measure a “a complicated, convoluted regulatory scheme that we have no idea whether it’ll be effective,” adding that “The only thing we know is once we make it law, the gaming control board will be stuck with it, and we will be left with a surprising bill.”

    Specific complaints included longstanding concerns that expanding gaming to new platforms—like the internet and remote video gaming terminals — will “cannibalize” business from traditional casinos, revenue from which helps subsidize programs for the elderly.

    The bill is expected to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for the financially-struggling commonwealth, though it doesn’t yet have a formal fiscal note.

    It now goes to the Senate, where it likely faces changes.

  3. PMM

    PMM No Deposit Forum Moderator Staff Member

    In my opinion, video game terminals would never contribute to the "destroying " of the brick and mortar casino industry.

    Heading to the Senate for changes, I'm curious what changes will be made.

    Keep us updated Mben, and thanks for this article.
    Mben likes this.

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