Pennsylvania House joins Senate in passing gambling bill

27 October 2017

Pennsylvania has taken another step closer to becoming the fourth state in the US to legalise online gaming after its House passed a major gambling expansion bill.

The House voted 109-72 in favour of the bill, which this week was also passed by the Pennsylvania Senate after a vote of 31-19.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf will have the final say on the bill and has so far remained tight-lipped regarding his stance on internet gambling in the state.

House Bill 271 would also allow for the creation of 10 mini casinos, as well as for truck stops to operate video gaming terminals (VGTs) and enable Pennsylvania airport passengers to play games on their tablet devices.

The online gaming section of the bill sets out plans for punters to gamble on their desktop, mobile or tablet while inside the state’s borders.

In addition, if the bill gains final approval, Pennsylvania’s state lottery would be able to sell tickets online while daily fantasy sports operators could operate in the state, should Congress give clearance to such activities on a national scale.

Speaking after the House vote, Joe Weinert, executive vice-president of Spectrum Gaming Group, a New Jersey-based consultancy, said the bill was one of the most “aggressive” he has ever seen.

According to the Morning Call, Weinert said: “Aside from any state initially authorising casino gambling, this is one of the most aggressive gambling expansion bills we’ve ever seen.”

The bill would enable Pennsylvania’s existing commercial casinos to offer online gaming to punters, opening up licensing processes for slots, poker or other table games, or a mixture of all these types of gambling.

Pennsylvania plans to tax internet games the same rate casinos currently pay for live play at their physical locations, with a portion of slots revenue earmarked for property taxes and other online games contributing to the general fund.

Related article: Pennsylvania Senate passes gambling expansion bill