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Online Gambling Bill Included in Pennsylvania Budget Plan
- December 9, 2015 By Oliver Young -
Earlier this week the House Appropriations Committee voted in favor to include a section for the legalization of online gambling in the state’s budget plan for next year. iGaming within the Pennsylvania borders is viewed as a source of revenue, therefore, it was included in the budget.
According to media, under the proposed budget, a total of $120 million in online gambling revenue would be contributed to Pennsylvania on an annual basis and an extra of $24 million would be generated from related licensing fees.
However, the State Senate doesn’t seem to agree with the proposed budget and suggested another separate budget plan where nothing is mentioned about the potential revenue sources.
Legislators in Pennsylvania have long been discussing the 2016 budget and a positive progress has been made so far. But sources of revenue have to be found quickly and it appears that online gambling might be an option for generating more revenue.
The Proposed Bills
This past weekend, the State Senate and the House of Representatives Committee presented their proposals which were given thumbs up and were passed for committee stage this Monday. The two bills have their differences which must eventually be reconciled, however, the amount of their budgets doesn’t differ greatly- that of the House is $30.3 billion, while the Senate’s budget is $30.8 billion.
As previously mentioned, the bill proposed by the Senate doesn’t give details on how it suggests to fund its proposal compared to the House bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee which includes details on possible funding sources for $150 million, namely slot machines at betting parlors, tax and fees and online gambling licensing.
John Payne’s Bill Set for Second Consideration
Back to present day, the online gambling legalization bill HB649 proposed by Committee Chairman Rep. John Payne is set for second consideration and is on the agenda of Pennsylvania House meeting scheduled for later today. Perhaps it would result in approval of online gambling operated by licensed and regulated brick and mortar casinos in the state with a 14% tax based on general gross revenue.
Last month the House Gaming Oversight Committee voted in favor of this bill which could be seen as an effective measure to raise treasury revenues, but it’s still unclear if the bill accompanied the proposed budget plan that was voted on earlier this week.
However, this is just a start. The bill must also be agreed by the State Senate and then signed into law. Payne reportedly told media that he will continue lobbying for the legalization of iGaming in Pennsylvania in 2016 if the bill doesn’t get the necessary approval by the end of this year.
Nevertheless, Jake Corman, the Senate Majority Leader, said that his colleagues are not going to support the legalization of iGaming or any gambling expansion at this stage. He added that there aren’t enough voters who are in favor of this big step.