Sports Betting Legislation Moves Forward in Pennsylvania

NCAA Football

Pennsylvania has moved one step closer to allowing sports betting to take place within the state’s borders this week with the passage of HB 519 within the House Gaming Oversight Committee. The bill would see a change to the amendment of title 4 within the state Consolidated Statutes that would provide for sports wagering, allowing the Gaming Control Board to be in charge of the industry.

The legislation would also cover penalties as well as set a sports wagering tax and local fee assessment. HB 519 was able to pass within the Oversight Committee by a vote of 13 to 1. The proposal will now move on to the state Senate for discussion. The bill will still have a long way to go before anyone in Pennsylvania will be able to enjoy sports betting activities.

Currently in the United States, sports betting is prohibited based on the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, otherwise known as PASPA. The federal law applies to every state except those that offered licensed gambling for over a ten year time frame and were grandfathered in. The states allowed to do so were Nevada, Montana, Oregon and Delaware.

With Pennsylvania making the amendment go towards existing statues, it would enable the state to create a regulated sports betting industry if the federal government made changes to allow states to offer such gaming options. Representative Robert Matzie was quoted as stating that the state needs to be ready to act if the federal ban were to be lifted.

The movement of the sports betting legislation is just one example of gambling issues under discussion in the state. Right now, legislators are working on gambling expansion plans with such items on the table as online gambling, video gaming terminals and airport wagering. Also in the mix is the need for a solution to the local share tax which has a deadline of May 26th set by the state Supreme Court. Over the next few weeks, legislators are sure to be very busy taking a look at various proposals for the gaming industry of the state.

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