Pennsylvania seems extremely close to passing legislation that would allow online poker and casino gaming to take place within the state. Lawmakers have been considering legislation this year in the House and Senate that would see the twelve casinos of the state offering online wagering options. However, a new bill has now been introduced that could stop the activity from coming to pass.
House Bill 801 was introduced by Representative Thomas Murt last week and is co-sponsored by four lawmakers that would see online gaming banned in every form. While many lawmakers have been working on using iGaming as a way to bring additional revenues to the state, these five were working to see online gambling not come to fruition. The bill was filed on Friday which was the same week that a joint hearing was held with lawmakers in the House and Senate discussing online gaming for the state.
Most all of the casinos in the state would like to be given the opportunity to offer online gambling options. During the hearing, representatives of the casinos showed their support except for the Parx which testified that they do not think legalization of online gaming should take place due to the possibility that it would cannibalize their existing gaming revenues.
The bill submitted by Murt was two pages long and states that the Gaming Control Board shall not declare rules as well as regulations to allow any form of online gambling. The bill continues by stating that for the purpose of wagering or betting, no individual or entity will be allowed to solicit, invite, collect or accept cash or any other form of currency via the internet. The bill also includes information on punishment for breaking the law which would include fines and jail time.
It seems the bill would not make playing online poker a crime but offering the game to citizens of the state would be. It will be interesting to see if this bill will gain any headway or if the majority of lawmakers will continue to be on board with passing legislation that will legalize and regulate online gaming for the state.