The State of Pennsylvania has been on the fence for a long time about expanding their casino and gambling beyond that of a few race tracks, brick-and-mortar casinos, and the lottery. This is why the provisional pass during the first vote in the House, gives many the hope that by the second vote in order to pass on to Senate voting will be successful as well. The current budget plan to help raise revenue for the state includes a provision allowing, licensing, and taxing online casino gambling.
Penn Budget Plan Paving Way for Online Gambling
With the dealing for the budget plan for the next fiscal year coming to an end, the House is looking to quickly vote on the proposal; seeing as how they have agreed to a spending plan of nearly $31.5 billion. Within that plan, there is legislation that would make Pennsylvania the fourth state in the United States to allow online casino gambling in order to raise more money for the state treasury.
Things were looking grim as the House voted against Rep. George Dunbar’s HB 2150, the daily fantasy sports bill that would authorize video gaming terminals (VGT) in bars. However, Rep. Rosita Youngblood and her team were able to amend the bill into the A08734 enough that if has a successful 115 to 80 vote in favor; allowing the VGT’s to be placed in off-track locations and airports.
Gaming Taxes to Help in Shortfall
Despite whatever their position is, there will still seem to be a $1 billion shortfall in the budget proposal, and that is where taxing online casino and the VGT’s could prove helpful. It could bring in roughly $400 million each year, half directly from online gambling. This provision would be very similar to what was done in New Jersey, where the physical casinos could be licensed to take online wagers from the gamblers within the state.
Gov. Tom Wolf has been undecided regarding allowing online gambling to be legalized, so he has not voted either way on the bill. However, with the budget deadline quickly approaching, with July 1 being the cut-off, he will certainly be present these next few important days. As press secretary Jeff Sheridan stated,
“As the governor has said, he is focused on a final budget that is balanced, invests in education and provides funding to combat the heroin crisis. The governor looks forward to continuing to work with the legislature to address these goals.”
Which is why it may take some more time if online casino gambling is to make its way into Pennsylvania.