Pennsylvania House Includes Online Gambling in Budget Bill

pennsylvania_state_sealIt was back in July that the state of Pennsylvania started a standoff in regards to the budget, now having spent months trying to determine which route to take to bring additional money into the state. Politicians seem to have made some headway, with framework for a budget starting in November and now more progress just yesterday. The question now seems to be will or won’t the state include some form of online gambling in with the budget?

The State Senate voted 43-7 to pass a budget bill, one that does not mention online gambling. This bill only covers expenditures, with the tax package funding yet to be determined. Governor Tom Wolf is reported to be in support of this measure.

In the House, legislators have been working to pass their own budget version, one that would include an expansion of online gaming. According to information found at Penn Live, the Democratic analysis states the Republicans would pay for their plan with $120 million to be generated with online gaming. $150 million would be produced in tobacco taxes and online gaming licensing fees would be set at $24 million, a onetime free. The funding plan also includes legalizing slot machines that would be located in airports and off-track betting parlors.

The bill by the House passed the Appropriations Committee on Monday via vote and may be voted on by the full House this week. The bill has close to a half a billion less in expenditure terms than the version by the Senate.

The language used in the House budget bill is not known but according to reports, such as the one at Penn Live, it seems that some language coincides with HB 649 which is the bill created by State Representative John Payne covering online gaming. It will be interesting to see if this measure gets a vote in the house and how the state of Pennsylvania moves forward in regards to the budget and if it will include online gaming as a means to bring in more money to the state.

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