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Pennsylvania Online Poker Bill Inches Forward

Legislation Read On House Floor Tuesday


A bill in Pennsylvania that would legalize and regulate state-licensed online poker sites was introduced and then read on the House floor Tuesday, less than a week after it cleared a committee, according to the Poker Players Alliance.

“Pennsylvania continues making progress on iGaming as HB 649 was read on House floor today,” the grassroots lobbying group said on Twitter.

There’s no date yet on a potential House vote.

The House Gaming Oversight Committee approved the measure, HB 649, by a vote of 18-8 and now the proposal must stand up to further review by lawmakers. If it passes the House, the measure will go to the Senate. If it passes that legislative body, the governor will have it on his desk.

HB 649 could still become incorporated in a larger bill aimed to help fix the state budget for next year. Lawmakers have considered other gambling reforms to give a boost to a commercial casino gambling market that is second only to Nevada in terms of gaming revenue but hasn’t grown over the past two years.

Pennsylvania determined that regulated online gaming would eventually be a $300 million market.

HB 649 has a proposed tax rate of 14 percent on Internet gaming revenue.

Rep. John Payne, the sponsor of HB 649, told Card Player that 11 out of the 12 casinos in the state are either in support or neutral to online casino games, though it’s not clear exactly how many would pursue the activity.

It would take 9-12 months after the activity is legalized before online gaming launches, in part due to the crafting of regulations and technology testing.

In neighboring New Jersey, six of the eight casinos have real-money online gambling offerings.