After meeting yesterday morning, the House Gaming Oversight Committee of Pennsylvania voted in favor of an online gaming bill 18-8. Based on information by the Poker Players Alliance, the bill will now move forward after the vote by the committee to the House and if successful would move to the Senate to be considered. If the bill continues to be approved after the Senate, Governor Tom Wolf would then have the option to sign the bill into law or to veto.
The piece of legislation, HB 649, has the potential to be part of a bigger bill that would be created to help the budget issues of Pennsylvania. Other ideas for gambling reform include sales of online lottery tickets, regulation of daily fantasy sports and slot machines added to airports.
In a statement, John Pappas, the PPA Executive Director, stated that the House Gaming Oversight Committee has proven they are committed to providing residents of Pennsylvania with a regulated and safe place to enjoy online poker within the state’s borders, with the passage of HB 649. Pappas further stated that the bill now needs to be made into law to improve the safety of consumers as well as fiscal health of the state. The PPA hopes the bill will be enacted on its own or as part of the 2016 budget for the state by the end of the year.
Proponents of online poker gaming must now wait and see if the bill can move forward as it enters the House. If the bill manages to move forward and online poker is legalized within the state, Pennsylvania would become the fourth state in the US to offer online gaming activities, joining the ranks including New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware. The state currently has 12 land based casinos with a potential casino to be located in Philadelphia, most seemingly in support of online gaming or neutral on the topic.
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