Pennsylvania Rep. Tina Davis introduced online gambling legislation this week, the third such bill now under consideration by state lawmakers.
HB920 has been referred to the House Committee on Gaming Oversight where Davis occupies a seat. Davis’ proposal now accompanies previous bills introduced by Rep. John Payne (HB649) and Rep. Nick Miccarelli (HB695).
Davis introduced igaming legislation in 2013 that failed to make any traction. But it did bring the issue to the forefront and eventually led to an extensive study released last year that determined that online gambling would not cannibalize the revenue generated at the state’s 12 land-based casinos.
The study and subsequent report was prepared by Econsult Solutions at the behest of the Keystone State’s Legislative Budget and Finance Committee. Another main finding of the research was that once an online poker and gambling regime were established in the state, gross revenue of $307 million could be realized annually. Of that total, projections estimated that ipoker would be worth roughly $129 million.
PA on the Move
Though Pennsylvania trails California in the number of online gambling bills currently before their respective legislatures (4 to 3), the Keystone State is seen as having a much better chance at being the next state to approve legislation. California’s ipoker proposals remain mired within the contentious atmosphere surrounding the state’s gaming interests failing to see eye-to-eye.
Pennsylvania lawmakers are set to debate online gaming at public hearings both this month and next. A hearing before the Gaming Oversight Committee will look at Internet Gaming & Mobile Gaming on April 16, while the same committee will also debate Internet Gaming on May 6 and the state’s Gaming Control Board is set to summarize previously held hearings on May 14.
The efficiency at which Pennsylvania lawmakers are operating with regard to online gambling is being viewed by many observers as a proper way to go about advancing regulation. Not to say that legislators in Nevada, Delaware or New Jersey erred while taking the required steps on the way to enacting igaming statutes.
It’s just that the path being followed in Pennsylvania appears methodical and certain. Then again, Keystone State lawmakers have the luxury of looking at how things were done in the trio of states that have already regulated online gambling and perhaps learning from mistakes and missteps along the way.
In any event, Pennsylvania now appears to be on a solid course of Internet gaming expansion at some point in the future. Whether that happens in 2015 or 2016 has yet to be determined.