Pennsylvania Lawmakers Positive about iGaming Legalization Success

Pennsylvania lawmakers have expressed confidence that online gambling will be legalized this spring as the state Legislature is gearing up for the 2017 legislative session. House and Senate legislators are set to reconvene on January 23 and it is believed that gambling expansion proponents will not be wasting time and will put the topic on the table as quickly as possible.

It has become known that Sen. Jay Costa will present a new gambling expansion bill that will be aimed at bolstering the variety of gambling services offered in Pennsylvania. Similarly to previous proposed legislations, Sen. Costa’s will be thoroughly concerned with the legalization and regulation of online gambling and daily fantasy sports and will also provide for the permission of tablet gaming at airports and/or other sites that are traditionally not intended for the purpose.

The new legislative piece will also try to provide a solution to the “local share” tax issue that emerged last year after the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania ruled that a tax agreement between casinos and host municipalities was unconstitutional. The Court argued that the existing levy of a minimum of $10 million on casinos’ slot revenue treated gambling venues of different sizes unequally.

Sen. Costa’s proposal will probably not be the only one to be submitted during the 2017 legislative session. However, this year’s gambling expansion bills should not be expected to be that different from the ones that have already been discussed by state lawmakers.

If Pennsylvania legalizes and regulates online gambling, it will become the biggest US state to have done this. Neighboring New Jersey as well as Nevada and Delaware are currently the only three states where iGaming options are offered legally but all three markets are significantly smaller in terms of population.

Sen. Mario Scavello, one of the proponents of the gambling expansion efforts in the state, has recently told media that he believes amendments will probably be implemented to the current gaming laws this spring.

Pennsylvania lawmakers need to find a permanent solution to the local share tax issue. What is more, the additional tax revenue that would come from the potential gambling expansion will certainly boost the state budget. These are all good reasons to urge legislators to speed up the process.

Given the progress proposed the legalization of iGaming made last year, it will not be a big surprise if this finally happens in 2017. However, it is important to note that the effort has bigger chances to gain the much-needed support in the Legislature if it is part of a larger gambling bill rather than if submitted as a separate piece.

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