Pennsylvania faces another online gambling bill

By David Cook
A second bill in as many weeks that would legalise online gambling in Pennsylvania was submitted last week.

State Representative Nick Miccarelli’s House Bill 695 differs from Democratic Representative John Payne’s HB 649 to legalise online gambling however, as it only proposes the legalisation of online poker in the state.

Miccarelli’s bill, unlike Payne’s, includes a bad actor clause, which would “exclude those who violated the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006”, when a federal ban was placed on all forms of online gambling in the US, and operators who continued accepting wagers from US-based players after 31 December 2006 would be banned.

The only exceptions made for those operators would be those that were under a federal or state licence at that time.

Miccarelli stressed to house members that poker should not be treated the same as other games and that he wishes to deter Pennsylvania players from using illegal markets to gamble online.

He said: “Poker is unlike banking games in many respects that make it best for the introduction of interactive gaming. Poker operators are not participants in the games and are indifferent as to the outcome.

“Additionally, many Pennsylvania residents participate in illegal and unregulated poker sites. Establishing a strong regulatory framework under the Gaming Control Board will assist in shutting down these illegal sites and enhance consumer protection for our gaming residents.”

Operators will be required to partner with existing licence holders in the state, as was the case with Payne’s bill and the legalisation of online gambling in New Jersey in 2013.

Licenses would cost $5m and operators would be taxed 14% of gross gaming revenue.

Miccarelli previously submitted an online gambling bill last year.





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