Pennsylvania i-gaming bill submitted

By David Cook
A bill has been introduced in Pennsylvania that would allow online gambling in the state.

Democratic Representative John Payne, who is also chairman of Pennsylvania’s House Gaming Oversight Committee, has submitted House Bill 649.

The bill looks to amend Title 4 (Amusements) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes to authorise online gaming, impose a tax on the industry and establish penalties for unlicensed operators.

The terms of the bill would not allow operators who are not already licensed in the state to apply for licenses, which is similar to the online gambling law that was implemented in New Jersey in 2013.

According to Payne, the legalising of online gambling could drive players away from illegal markets and help protect the state against a projected $2bn budget shortfall.

Payne said in a statement: “Right now millions of Americans, including Pennsylvanians, participate in illegal online gaming where no regulation currently exists.

“We are currently facing a projected $2bn budget shortfall.

“I think it’s important we consider all responsible options to boost revenue before we consider asking our taxpayers for more money to fill that deficit.”

HB 649 is the third online gambling bill to have been submitted in Pennsylvania, following similar bills in 2013 and 2014.

The 2013 bill was given two hearings last year but was not passed.

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