The rumblings in the statehouse are the latest indication that online gambling provisions that failed to be enacted in 2016 are high on the priority list of some lawmakers in the state.
Sen. Jay Costa posted a co-sponsorship memorandum, a common first step before introducing legislation in Pennsylvania.
The legislation Costa is likely to introduce is an omnibus gaming bill that would tackle a number of issues. From the memo:
“In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation amending the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act to allow the Commonwealth’s gaming industry to continue to evolve and remain competitive in a responsible manner, respond to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s September 2016 ruling that declared the slot machine local share provisions of the Act unconstitutional, and generate an estimated $137 million in revenue for the FY 16-17 budget.”
The provisions include:
The online gambling component is pegged to generate $125 million in the state for the current fiscal year. That seems to be pointed at the $100 million the legislature and governor promised the budget from a gambling expansion in 2016.
From the memo:
Revenue for FY 16-17*
Internet Gaming License Fee –
$10 million 10 (of 12) $100 million
Internet Gaming Vendor Fee –
$5 million 5 (of 10) $25 million
Some of the nitty-gritty of the legislation (as planned):
The tax rate likely would not allow for online poker in the state, but would be conducive to other forms of online gambling, particularly online casinos.
The fee and tax rate may be too high for any DFS operator to stomach, DraftKings and FanDuel included. (Those two companies plan to merge in 2017.)
While the PA House has twice passed legislation including online gambling, the Senate has not yet taken that step. The Senate took care of the so-called “host tax,” but refused to vote on the bill when the House added a number of gambling expansions.
But chatter on online gambling in the statehouse preceded the start of this year’s session, with a number of lawmakers openly talking about the issue:
The planned bill from Costa shows there may have been a measure of compromise with the House on considering gaming provisions all at once. If nothing else, PA online gambling certainly is alive and kicking in 2017.