PA Online Poker Push Gets Third Bill, Second Hearing

New Bill, Hearing For Pennsylvania Online Gambling As Critical Months Approach

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The topic of regulated online gambling continues to garner legislative interest in Pennsylvania.

The latest manifestation of that interest: HB920, a new bill from Rep. Tina Davis. Full text here; track the bill via PALegis here.

Davis introduced online gambling legislation in 2013, but her effort stalled in committee. Her new bill appears to be nearly identical to the text of her 2013 effort.

Davis’ bill is third of session

Davis’ bill sits alongside a bill introduced by Rep. John Payne – HB649 – that would authorize Pennsylvania to offer legal online poker and casino games.

Read a summary of Payne’s bill here, full text here and an interview OPR did with Payne after the bill’s introduction here.

A few items worth noting:

Rounding out the trio of bills is HB695, introduced by Rep. Nick Miccarelli. All three bills currently sit with the GO.

Rep. Payne’s bill is by far the most likely to be the eventual legislative vehicle for moving online gambling forward in Pennsylvania – assuming that regulation occurs via a standalone bill and not as part of the budget process.

Two online gambling hearings now on PA calendar

The Pennsylvania House Committee on Gaming Oversight will host two hearings regarding legal online gambling in the weeks ahead:

  1. April 16: A public hearing on Internet Gaming and Mobile Gaming.
  2. May 6: A public hearing on Internet Gaming.

Full hearing schedule and information here.

The April hearing has been scheduled for several weeks. The May hearing was added only recently.

“We have talked to lawmakers in Pennsylvania and they are taking iGaming seriously,” Poker Players Alliance Executive Director John Pappas told OPR.

“The May 6 hearing will provide a forum to make our best case why the Commonwealth needs to act this year. I have little doubt that online gaming opponents will be out in full force, and we need to be prepared to crush their rhetoric with facts.”

A more general public hearing on the topic of industry competitiveness held in mid-March involved extended discussion of issues related to online gambling.

- Chris is the publisher of Grove also serves as a consultant to various stakeholders in the regulated market for online gambling in the United States.
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