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Pennsylvania Lawmakers To Meet Next Week Over Gambling Expansion

Keystone State To Return To Work Early On I-Gaming

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In an effort to grow its relatively flat casino gambling market, Pennsylvania lawmakers will meet next week to begin sorting through potential new revenue streams for the state’s 12 Las Vegas-style casinos.

According to a report from the Associated Press, Pennsylvania Republican Senator Kim Ward will hold the meeting on Jan. 3, the same day lawmakers begin the new two-year legislative session. Rep. John Payne, who spearheaded 2016’s online gaming efforts, has retired and will no longer be in the mix. Ward is a supporter of online gaming for Pennsylvania.

“The days of doing nothing are over at this point,” Ward told the AP.

In June, Pennsylvania’s House passed Payne’s online gaming plan, but the Senate decided not to pass it in the following months. Online gaming was grouped with a plan to fix a casino tax issue and also allow more slot machines in the state. The online gaming bill wasn’t successful even though a state budget plan included $100 million from internet betting fees.

Pennsylvania’s casino market has been about $3 billion since 2011. Though it’s the no. 2 commercial casino market in the country outside of Nevada, neighboring states have made moves to beef up their respective industries.

Neighboring New Jersey is one of three U.S. states with regulated online gaming, and it’s market is up about 30 percent in 2016 after $150 million in revenue in 2015.

It’s been estimated that online casinos would generate $300 million in revenue a year for Pennsylvania’s casinos. The proposed tax rate was 16 percent.