Pennsylvania Becomes Fourth U.S. State to Legalize Online Gambling
Pennsylvania has become the fourth U.S. state to legalize online gambling. The Pennsylvania Senate voted 31-19 voting in support of the HB-271 bill which will legalize online casino and poker sites, daily fantasy sports, mobile gambling at airports, VGT’s at selected truck stops as well as 10 new satellite casinos.
HB-271 was approved by the State Senate on Wednesday and after reconvening on Thursday morning was finally passed. This means that all that needs to happen now is for Gov. Tom Wolf to sign the bill and make it law.
Some of the issues arising from the amended bill include the whopping 54% tax on online slot revenues. Online casino and online poker were set at a 16% rate.
Needless to say there is much opposition from state established casinos like Penn National Gaming Inc. who operate the Hollywood Casino at Penn national Race Course. They are of the opinion the proposed new satellite casinos would cannibalize the existing states revenues.
The satellite casinos will have to be built at a distance of 25 miles from any existing casino operator. The licenses will be awarded through a process of auction open to operators of existing and freestanding casinos. The minimum bid price will be $10m for the option of having both table games and slots. Supporters of the new bill believe that many jobs will be created as well as a portion of slot proceeds will also go to community projects like school property tax relief.
With online gambling becoming legal, all games will be available online via any device subject to geo-location technology. The aim of offering mobile gambling is to attract the younger audiences which are seen as key to long term growth of the casino industry.