The state of Pennsylvania seems to be ready to stop at nothing when it comes to offering poker and casino gaming to visitors and residents. A new bill was introduced last week that brings the total of legislation on the table to three as state lawmakers ponder how to move forward.
Senate Bill 524 was introduced last Monday in an effort to end the debate as to how online gambling should be introduced in the state. So far, over 80 hearings have taken place in the state to try and see the existing gambling industry expand.
Currently, Pennsylvania is the second largest state when it comes to gambling in the US, with earnings remaining at a steady $3 billion or so each year for the past 6+ years. The state has 12 casinos in operation and each would be allowed to offer online gaming with the latest proposal.
Senate Bill 477 and House Bill 392 are also on the table, both having been introduced just a few weeks ago. Tax rates for online gaming have been set at 14 to 25 percent, depending on the measure. Lawmakers are supposed to be meeting this week to yet again discuss online gambling plus expansions in land based gaming such as allowing daily fantasy sports and slot machines in restaurants/bars across the state.
On top of expanding into online play and other areas, the state also has to fix the host community tax fee. Late last year, the state Supreme Court ruled that the fee being paid currently is unconstitutional. So, lawmakers have to come an agreement as to how this tax rate can be fixed so operators will continue to pay money that is much-needed in host communities.
It is believed that if online gambling were to be legalized in the state, as much as $300 million or more would be earned annually.