Will Pennsylvania Legalize Online Gambling?
Some good news is coming from Pennsylvania. According to media reports, the state’s legislators have managed to reach an agreement when it comes to gaming expansion plans.
The agreement between the lawmakers in Harrisburg is an uncertain one, but nevertheless, it could still bring the much-needed boost for online gambling hopes.
More Money For the Budget
The sources say the legislators have agreed that online poker and casino sites will form a part of the extra gaming revenue needed for the current fiscal year’s budget of $32 billion.
Pennsylvania Senate plans to acquire $250 million from gambling to be used for the budget. The extra $25 million could be gained through an increase in taxes on casino table games. This tax currently stands at 16%, but it could go up to 20%.
The first rumors appeared earlier this week, stating online gambling operators could face one-time licensing fees ranging from $10 million to $15 million, with a tax rate of 15-20%.
Reports say the state’s legislators have decided to allow Pennsylvania’s currently operating casinos – all 12 of them – to open 10 satellite casinos in rural areas. In addition to that, the legislators will also approve video gambling terminals (VGTs) at truck stops across the state.
House vs Senate
The state’s lower house has given its support to a proposed plan to allow up to 40,000 VGTs to be installed at bars, clubs and other venues, but Senate was against it. The main reason for the lack of support from Senate lies in the fact that the state’s 12 casinos lobbied against such a plan, which would pose a serious competition for them.
According to sources from the local media, Senate suggested the number that was less than the initial plan proposed, but it was enough to appease the members of the House of Representatives.
However, this may not be entirely correct, since the only sides that showed opposition to House plans were the Democrats, who said they needed more time to review the details, while the Republicans in both chambers are in favor of it.
It remains to be seen what will be the final outcome since the budget voting is approaching.