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New Impetus For Legal Online Gambling

Added: March 20, 2017

Of course you know full well that along with a new year and a new President there looks to be a new optimism in many state legislatures around the U.S. regarding action on legalizing online gambling. One such state is Pennsylvania. There, Pennsylvania State Senator Jay Costa makes it quite clear that this time around he strongly believes online gambling legalization will finally pass all the hurdles and become the law of the land.

You may well recall that the Pennsylvania House of Representatives twice passed such legislation. Interestingly, the House passed the legislation once on its own and the second time in conjunction with a local share tax fix that came in from the Senate. Unfortunately, the Pennsylvania Senate failed to take action on either occasion.

Answering questions about this failure of the Pennsylvania Senate to twice fail to enact such legislation, Senator Costa pointed out the Senate was merely taking its time as allowed by the Pennsylvania Budget deadline. Note that the legislature has until June 30th each year to fund the budget. At the same time, the first year revenue projections from the proposed online gambling legislation is set to be sourced from legal online gambling site upfront fees, there insufficient time to meet the allocation.

Costa had this to say: “I think the resistance was a lot of folks not happy with the scope of what the House was trying to get done. The idea was since we had until June 30 to collect the $100 million need from iGaming, there was no need to pass for the sake of passing until we had a full blown conversation. If we did it, we wanted to do it right and that’s what we are trying to do.”

That being said, Costa plans to reintroduce a revised Bill this Senatorial Session. Interestingly, the new Costa Bill contains language that imposes what looks to be a rather high tax rate of 25 percent. Note that neighboring states with legal online casino action impose tax rates of around 15 percent.

On top of all of the above, note that the reality faced by Pennsylvania is a gaping budget hole. A budget hole that works out to something like $100 million. In other words, a hole that could realistically be filled in with legal online casino action.

Yet, despite the pushback, you can get a sense of where this is going in Pennsylvania when you note that none other than the Governor himself, Tom Wolf included the $100 million in iGaming revenue in his budget proposal. Watch this one closely. All signs point to Pennsylvania joining the list of states with legal online casino action.