Online Gaming Hearings to Begin in Pennsylvania Tomorrow

The state of Pennsylvania is one that seems to be the next in the running for online gaming within the United States. Legislation has been introduced to legalize and regulate online gaming in the state and this week, hearings are set to begin on the subject. Lawmakers are trying to figure out how they can stay in competition with neighboring states as well as earn more revenues from the gaming industry. We may see the state become the next to join the blossoming online gaming industry of the US alongside Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada.

The first public hearing on the subject of online gaming is scheduled for tomorrow at the Mount Airy Casino Resort. The hearing will be conducted by the House Gaming Oversight Committee and will focus on how to stay competitive in the market. The casino will host the hearing beginning at 2pm and the public are welcome to attend.

John PayneState Representative John Payne is the Chairman of the Committee and has stated that online gaming is a continually growing business with millions of Americans taking part in gaming. Payne is the sponsor of an online gaming bill within the state that will legalize and regulate iGaming in the state if passed into law. Payne believes his bill, HB 649, will help to generate new revenues within the state and help to protect citizens in Pennsylvania from predatory gaming sites.

Like many proponents of gaming, Payne believes that without online gaming legislation, citizens of Pennsylvania are at risk of fraud and abuse by operators who are unlicensed and not regulated to operate within the state. With Payne’s legislation, the twelve casinos of the state would be able to obtain licensing and offer online gaming.

Under the proposed legislation, every casino wanting to offer online gaming would have to pay a $5 million licensing fee. Online gaming revenues would have a 14% tax, with monies going towards the general fund of the state, similarly to the table gaming taxes.

The state recently had a study conducted to estimate how much could be earned with online gaming and it was estimated that as much as $120 million in gaming revenues could be earned within one year of operations. This money would help to offset the $2 billion in projected budget deficit without having to create new taxes.

On the opposition, State Senator Mario Scavello has concerns that legalizing online gaming will have a negative impact on problem gambling. He has previously voted against legislation concerning online gaming. Scavello has stated he is concerned that being able to take part in gaming at home will make it easier for those who have a problem to take part.

Payne would combat such issues as problem gaming with certain technologies as he has stated previously:

John Payne StatementSo for now, we wait and see how the hearing will go tomorrow and what the result will be. Another hearing is scheduled for the very next day to discuss options further. Proponents of online poker and casino gaming would like to see Pennsylvania become the next state to offer iGaming as the industry continues to grow in the United States.