Possible Online Poker Vote in Pennsylvania

October 20th, 2015 | by Greg Shaun
Online poker regulation could become a reality in Pennsylvania this week following a House vote on Sen. Kim Ward's bill. (Image: pasenategop.com)

Online poker regulation could become a reality in Pennsylvania this week following a House vote on Sen. Kim Ward’s bill. (Image: pasenategop.com)

Online poker in Pennsylvania could become a reality this week if a meeting between the House Gaming Oversight Committee is a success.

It’s been suggested that the meeting, which is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, October 21, could contain a vote on iGaming. Although the schedule hasn’t been confirmed, those close to the issue believe that iGaming bill SB900, introduced by Senator Kim Ward earlier this year, will come under review.

iGaming to Address $2 Billion Debt

Despite Pennsylvania as a state facing a financial deficit of $2 billion per annum, iGaming has been pushed back on the regulatory agenda a number of times. Even though the regulation of iGaming is being supported by Rep. John Payne, some members of the House have been reluctant to tackle the issue in recent months.

Even the prospect of the industry generating $120 million in tax revenue in its first year (each license holder would be subject to a $5 million fee and tax levies up to 59 percent) hasn’t been enough to push the issue.

Fortunately, however, the Committee welcomed four new members at the start of October, and according to several sources, including triblive.com, the quartet is pro-iGaming.

Replacing the members who were previously against the industry, the new figures are expected to side with Payne on SB900.

As well as opening the door for online poker and casino games, a positive vote on SB900 could also make Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) a regulated entity within the state of Pennsylvania.

Although platforms such as DraftKings and FanDuel have been active in the state in recent months, developments in Nevada have put the legality of DFS in the US under the microscope.

iGaming Bill Could Help DFS

However, if an iGaming bill is voted into law in Pennsylvania, it would also unlock the possibility of DFS regulation coming into effect. According to State Representative George Dunbar, DFS is in need of regulation if it doesn’t want to go the same route as online poker in the US.

He also added that he wants “Draft Kings and Fan Duel in Pennsylvania” and the best way to make this happen is if they were regulated and required to partner with the state.

DFS regulation aside, online poker and casino games are the pressing matter for many at the moment; including those who oppose the industry. With rumblings of a vote reverberating around the US, Sheldon Adelson’s Coalition to Stop Internet Gaming has launched a last minute campaign to discredit the industry.

In a new video released in Pennsylvania, the Coalition has claimed that online gaming puts “families at risk.” Fortunately, Adelson’s efforts have been largely ignored this year and have become nothing more than background noise for those close to the issue.

In fact, with more supporters now on the Committee and Pennsylvania still looking for new ways to raise funds, it could be that a vote this week will signal a positive result for the iGaming industry.


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