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Legal & Regulatory

Pennsylvania edges closer to legalised sports betting

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pennsylvaniahouseofrepresentatives
osals to allow sports betting in Pennsylvania took a step closer today with the passage of a bill through the state’s House Gaming Oversight Committee.

The bill known as HB 519 would see the amendment of title 4 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes in 'providing for sports wagering and for powers and duties of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board; imposing penalties; and providing for sports wagering tax and local fee assessment'.

The proposed legislation passed the oversight committee by a vote of 13-1 with the bill passing to the floor of the Pennsylvania Senate for debate. While passage of the bill through committee goes some way to getting the legislation approved, there are still considerable obstacles to sports betting being legalised in Pennsylvania.

At present sports betting is prohibited by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), federal level legislation which applies to all states, save those who have had licensed casino gambling for more than ten years and who elect to be grandfathered in.

Only four states have chosen to do so: Nevada, Oregon, Montana and Delaware.

Making the amendment to existing local statutes would enable Pennsylvania to set up a regulated sports betting industry should the federal government decide to allow states to do so.

One of the proposers of the bill, Republican representative Robert Matzie, told assembled delegates that “I believe we must be ready to act should the federal ban be lifted”.

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