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Pennsylvania Gets Closer to Regulation

Posted on January 16, 2017 | Comments Off on Pennsylvania Gets Closer to Regulation

Pennsylvania is looking to finally solve the issue of online gambling and regulate the market within the state borders. After much turmoil and heated debates over the proposed House bills for legalizing online gambling last year, it seems that there finally is a bright future for regulating online gambling activity in the state. Senator Jay Costa has announced the new bill concerning gaming activity which will touch upon issues such as licenses and tax for online gambling and daily fantasy sports (DFS).

The long-fought battle of pushing the online gambling bill to pass the Senate was initiated by Representative John Payne who retired by the end of last year without seeing his bill passed. The burning issue was the local tax share which was deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. The tax share involved a fee of $10 million or 2% for revenue higher than $500 million. The Senate reacted to fix the issue, but they by-passed the proposed Payne’s bill and included this new amendment into the previous HB 1887 which did not include clear regulations on internet gambling. The year ended with no clear answer from the Senate regarding HB 2150, which means that Payne’s battles need to be fought all over again starting from point zero, that is, drafting a new bill and sponsoring it from the start.

However, it seems that Payne’s advocating will not be in vain, as Senator Jay Costa has proposed a new bill which tends to solve more or less the same issues as the previous two bills proposed in 2016, including tax fix, daily fantasy sports, online gambling activities such as internet casinos and online lottery.

Senator Costa made this announcement following the discussion regarding online gambling with Senator Kim Ward. The newly-drafted piece of legislation intends to solve local gaming tax issues and propose license fees for land-based casinos. The current number of brick-and-mortar casinos in the state of Pennsylvania is twelve, though not all of them are expected to apply for an online casino license. Those who do apply will have to pay the fee of $10 million which amounts to a number of $100 million for the state, should 10 casinos apply for licenses as it is predicted. Under the new bill, online platforms of independent vendors will also be subject to licensing at the cost of $5 million. As for the taxes, any revenue generated from online gambling activity will be subject to a tax of 25%. Senator Costa also included the regulation of daily fantasy sports proposing a licensing fee of $2.5 million and a tax rate of 25% and the possibility of organizing online lottery.

This is definitely a good sign for all Pennsylvania players, as they are finally looking at the prospect of gambling at regulated USA online casinos, however, it is yet unclear whether the new legislation will allow online poker.

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