Pennsylvania has quickly become the front runner for the next state to regulate online gambling and online poker. Most experts feel the state is one of the few that could support an inter-state infrastructure.
Their addition to the online gambling space in America would join Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware. For those unfamiliar with geography, Delaware and New Jersey essentially border Pennsylvania, which could lead to an intra state pool of players between the 3.
Before we get to that point, the state first needs to officially legalize and regulate the game. This part is becoming a reality that may happen sooner than later. Earlier in May, a recent bill for online gambling was voted down by the House, which made for a grim outlook for supporters of online gambling.
Over the past year or more, Rep. John Payne has been working hard to pass an online gambling bill that would increase current tax revenue by about 10%. Currently, there are 12 live casinos that produce on average, $60 million annually just from poker. Many experts estimate that online gambling in Pennsylvania would see an added $300 million a year to that number.
With states struggling for money, an extra $300 million in taxable revenue is hard to pass up. The bill states that 16% of that revenue would be passed on to the state. Some extra tens of millions more in state revenue just from passing out licenses to those who want to operate an online casino in the state.
Only the 12 casinos would be able to purchase such a permit.
One of the set-backs in previous bills was the addition of a slots amendment which called for the expansion of slot machines. This attachment would have allowed slot machines to be allowed in other venues besides casinos, such as bars and airports.
Obviously, the casinos disagreed with this part of the bill. To compromise, slots would only be added to the states airports and off track betting parlors.
It appears this compromise is paying off as the newly amended online gambling bill has passed through the House Senate with a 114-85 vote on Tuesday. This is good news, but not the end of a very bumpy road.
Next up is passage through State Senate. If passed through Senate, it gets put in front of the state's Governor - Tom Wolf. Governor Wolf can either pass the bill, veto it, or do nothing. If he does nothing, the bill becomes law after 10 days.
Only after Gov. Wolf passes the bill, can we begin to discuss the possibility of a liquidated poker market that is desperately needed.