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Pennsylvania Online Gambling and DFS Bill Waiting for Signature

By: Marica K, June 30, 2016
Pennsylvania to legalize online gaming

Under the new law Pennsylvania citizens could also enjoy mobile gaming, but only at airports.

After several bills proposed last year and heated debates, it seems that Pennsylvania is looking to legalize online gambling and daily fantasy sports after the House Bill – HB 2150 passed the voting in the House of Representatives yesterday. Initially rejected due to a controversial part relating to video gaming terminals, the bill was now voted to pass the House by a tight margin. There are two more steps to go in the next few days which will finally decide the destiny of HB 2150 in Pennsylvania: it should be approved by the Senate and signed by the Governor Tom Wolf.

After A Long Fight Only Couple of Days to Go

Last year Pennsylvania House of Representatives had seen several bill proposals for legalizing and regulating online gambling, none of which succeeded to pass the House. Most of these bills propose allowing licensed land-based casinos to extend their business in the online niche, meaning that the new legal framework supports both online poker and online casino games, including live casino games. Last month one such bill first introduced by Rep. John Payne and it was rejected due to its controversial component regarding VGT (video game terminals). VGT concept included legalizing video game terminals across the state in bars and taverns which would thus obtain a liquor license as well. This was a non-passing hurdle for the bill and the House voted in favor of rejection. Soon after the negative vote an amendment was introduced which excluded VGT out of the HB 2150 and finally all advocates of online gambling were happy to see the voting result 114-85 in favor of the bill. Thus Pennsylvania became one step closer to being the fourth US state where people can legally gamble online. Currently all eyes are on the Senate and the Governor and the decision will have to be made by the end of the month which leaves only a couple of days to make a decision.

Good Things Come At a Price

Should the new regulation pass it will mean that existing licensed casinos can partner up with online gaming providers and provide online gaming content as well as daily fantasy sports. However, this new benefit comes at a certain cost. The license will be available for a period of five years and it will cost $8 million upfront plus renewal fees of $250 000. Moreover, this price will be for the casinos while their providing partners will also be obliged to pay an upfront licence fee of $2 million and $100 000 for the renewals. Interestingly, mobile gaming will be allowed only at airports which will also have the ability to offer slots. In order to do so airports shall pay a licence fee of $1 million. Certainly the motives behind favoring this law are financial in nature, especially considering the fact that the state budget plan is supposed to be completed by July 1 which means that things will be moving fast in the next couple of days.

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