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A bill that would legalize Pennsylvania online casinos and poker won approval from the full Senate on Wednesday night.
A vote in the full House appears to loom on Thursday morning.
The moves came as multiple pieces of the revenue package to fund the state budget are progressing.
Last week, the Senate’s majority leader indicated that the gaming bill would be taken up this week.
The bill — H 271 — was amended and voted out of the Senate Rules Committee on Wednesday afternoon. It passed, as amended, 17-1. Soon thereafter, the bill was approved by the full Senate, 31-19.
Online gambling and daily fantasy sports are just one part of the expansive gaming package.
It was the first time the bill has seen public action since it was passed by the House in June. It’s the second time the Senate has passed a bill with iGaming in it.
The bill is several hundred pages long, and it has provisions for all sorts of things related to gaming. Here are some of the top-level takeaways:
More from Penn Live on the non-gaming pieces of the bill.
H 271 represents a massive expansion of gambling in the state. At the center of it all is the legalization of online gambling.
The tax rate for table games and poker is set at 14 percent, with an additional two percent local tax.
The tax rate for online slots is 52 percent, with the same two percent local tax bringing the total to 54 percent.
The latter rate is a massive overreach that will keep many operators on the sidelines, and prevent the industry from reaching its full revenue potential.
H 271 breaks online gaming into three categories, each requiring a separate license:
Pennsylvania casinos will have first crack at licenses.
Within the first 90 days they can apply for all three licenses at a cost of $10 million. After 90 days the cost is $4 million per license.
After 120 days “qualified entities” from outside of Pennsylvania can apply for and receive an interactive license at a cost of $4 million per license.
Here’s the portion of the bill dealing with online gambling.
The bill is now in the House. Later in the night, it was approved by the House Rules Committee and sent to the House floor.
At one point, it appeared the bill would come up for a vote on Wednesday night. The bill was debated until 11 p.m., and consideration of it was postponed until Thursday morning.
The prospects for the bill in the House are still not entirely clear, although oddsmakers would likely make its passage a favorite.
The House has previously insisted on widespread legalization of video gaming terminals at private taverns and bars as a part of the legislation. A more limited rollout of VGTs is in the bill.