Gaming package with PA online poker, casinos and fantasy sports appears near

Key Senator: PA Online Gambling Likely To Get Vote This Week

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Pennsylvania state Sen. Jay Costa indicated a vote on a gaming package — one that would legalize online gambling in the state — should take place this week.

It’s the latest good sign for a state that has flirted with regulating iGaming for years but has not yet enacted a law.

What Costa said on PA online gambling

Costa, the Senate minority leader, was taking questions on Twitter on Sunday about the state of budget talks in the state. While lawmakers have agreed on how to spend money for the state budget, they have not yet agreed on how to fund it.

One avenue the House and Senate seem bound to tap for new revenue is gaming. That includes regulation of online gambling, online poker and daily fantasy sports, among other things.

Costa took a few questions from those interested in the gaming package:

The good news continues for online poker and casinos

The revelation from Costa advances positive momentum on the gaming package in general, and online gambling in specific, behind the scenes.

Online gambling appears not to be a controversial moving part, at this point. But there are plenty of other moving parts that may face more serious opposition. Those other provisions raise the possibility of the entire bill being scuttled.

That includes the desire of the House to authorize video gaming terminals in taverns throughout the state. While online gambling is in, VGTs appear to be out.

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What are we watching for in the Senate?

Things will likely happen quickly, if and when they do, for the gaming package.

The bill — H 271 — is in front of the Senate Rules and Executive Nominations Committee. That committee is scheduled to meet on Monday, but the bill is not on the agenda as of now. The bill still needs to be amended with language that would receive a majority of votes in both chambers.

Once the bill gets out committee, it would then head to the full Senate for a vote, and then to the House for concurrence.

Nothing seems like a done deal, yet. But the fact that the minority leader is publicly planning on a vote on the gaming package this week is a good omen.

- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner. He has played poker recreationally for his entire adult life and has written about poker since 2008.
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