Senate Called Out By PPA to Act on Online Gambling Legislation

The Poker Players Alliance is a group that is a staunch supporter of gambling, particularly the game of poker. The PPA works hard to ensure that poker players in the United States have access to the best options for poker, including a safe and regulated gaming environment. The PPA have tried to see online gambling offered in states in the US, pushing for legislators to pass bills that will regulate and legalize the industry. The PPA has worked with legislators in Pennsylvania to be able to try and see legislation pass to see poker and casino gaming regulated in the state, including calling out the Senate to act on legislation that was recently passed.

Just this week, the House in Pennsylvania passed a measure that will take care of the casino tax issue in the state as well as legalize and regulate online gambling, including the game of poker. The state Supreme Court ruled a few weeks ago that a casino tax rule had to be changed as it was unconstitutional. The state had a rule in place where casinos had to pay a 2% tax on slot gaming revenues or pay $10 million, whichever was the largest amount. Smaller casinos felt this was unfair and Mount Airy actually filed a lawsuit to fight the tax. The Supreme Court ruled the tax was unfair and decided to have lawmakers make changes. A change has been included in the measure approved by the House along with online gambling legislation being approved. Now the Senate must act to see the bill move forward.

The Poker Players Alliance would now like to see the Senate act quickly so the bill can move forward quickly. Poker Players Alliance Executive Director John Pappas stated that the PPA thanked the House for their support of online gaming while taking up the critical local share tax issue and urged the Senate to take action immediately. Pappas pointed out that there is no political justification or policy in place for the Senate to decide to delay a vote. With every day that passes without robust protections in place, consumers are left vulnerable and revenues remain on the table.

Pappas also pointed out that in recent weeks, thousands of residents in Pennsylvania have contacted lawmakers to urge action be taken. Protecting consumers at the same time as raising revenues without increasing taxes is what residents in the state wish to see and deserve. Pappas stated that lawmakers do not need to once again kick the can down the road.

The 2016 and 2017 budget of the state does include revenue that will be created from online gaming licensing. The fees will be collected and will be critical now that the tax collection has been reported at below the estimate needed. The decrease is about 3.2% below what was expected.

The PPA is calling on everyone in the state to contact lawmakers and try to see the Senate moving forward with a vote. The Senate had already adjourned when the House made the vote in approval of the measure so it will be November before a vote can take place, if the Senate decides to actually vote. It is expected that the Senate will be back in session by the 15th and a possible vote may take place on the matter.

The PPA along with individuals in the state have a few weeks now to push for a vote to take place. It will be interesting to see if the Senate members will decide to vote or if the bill will be passed over yet again.