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New online gambling bill for Pennsylvania

June 16, 2015

Pennsylvania continues with its fight against the criminalization of online gambling. With a group of four Pennsylvania State Senators pushing the envelope on online gambling regulations the state is going to face the fifth online gambling bill. This group formed by four State Senators, has sponsored the fifth regulation proposal that will be introduced another online gambling bill. Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati, Sen. Robert Tomlinson, Sen. Elder Vogel, and Sen. Kim Ward, are working together to make changes on several of Pennsylvania’s Gaming Act features, including those that are obstructing the development of the online gaming market. The Senators have already sent out a summary with the different aspects that Pennsylvania’s gambling legislation should contain. Legalizing online forms of gambling is going to be a difficult part for this new campaign.

Any existing casinos that has been offering both, table and slot machine games, can become online operators as they will be considered eligible to offer online games to customers. In order for them to become legal online operators, Pennsylvania residents must complete the registration process by establishing an online gaming account, as well as proving their physical presence in the state. The gaming regulator, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, as well as Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs will be on top of operators and players all the time to make sure that internet gaming activities are under control. There are other aspects that the new bill wants to change, more focused on controlling out of state visitors; visitors from outside of the state who play from any of the two resort casinos in Pennsylvania, were required to comply with some rules, like spending ten dollars or paying for a casino membership. The new bill is trying to get rid of these idiosyncratic rules. However, some are not very happy with this decision on changing land-based casino rules, like Ron Baumann, general manager of Harrah’s Philadelphia in Chester, who said: “We are staunchly opposed to relaxing Category Three restrictions,”

The memo that the fourth Pennsylvania State Senators have prepared states: “These enhancements and reforms are reflective of the challenges faced both in establishing and maintaining the viability of the PA gaming industry in an increasingly competitive environment. It is imperative that we avoid the status quo and ensure PA casinos have the tools necessary to continue to thrive and guarantee the job security of the many men and women employed by the PA gaming industry. This proposed legislation is meant to ensure a healthy and vibrant business atmosphere for Pennsylvania’s gaming industry, while maximizing gaming revenue and the positive economic impact of gaming in the Commonwealth.”


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