For years now, the state of Pennsylvania has been poised to become the next state in the US to offer online poker and casino gaming. Proponents have hoped to see the state pass legislation only to have their hopes dashed time and time again. However, this week, things have changed. After the state House and Senate passed an online gambling bill last week, Governor Tom Wolf decided to sign the bill into law this past Monday.
Wolf added his signature to the bill at the beginning of the week, something that most expected would take place. Lawmakers had been working for some time on adding online gambling to their gaming industry as well as expanding in other areas. On top of the online poker and casino gaming options coming to the state, video gaming terminals will be added to approved truck stops, airports can offer tablet gaming in designated areas, online lottery sales can take place, daily fantasy sports is a go and sports betting was even included in the package.
Currently, the state has 12 casinos in operation. Each of these casinos will have the first pick for online gaming licensing. Poker, slots and table games can be offered. Each has its own licensing fee of $4 million or operators can choose to pay $10 total for all three. Taxes are set for online poker and table games at 16% each with slots having a much higher rate of 54%.
There has been criticism towards the high slot tax rate, which could result in a change. The amount is so high that operators may not be interested in offering online slot gaming. We shall see in the coming months who applies for licensing and if slot gaming is offered. After a short time frame, if the current land based gaming operators are not interested in offering online gaming, the licensing will be opened up to companies located outside the state.