Pennsylvania House of Representatives voting on online gambling
June 27, 2016
Since Rep. John Payne introduced in February of last year the House Bill 649, the measure that would legalize online gambling in the state Pennsylvania, the case is still up in the air. During this year, another bill and two amendments were also introduced to regulate the online gambling market in the state. House Bill 1925 and amendments A7622 and A7619. Amendments A7622 and A7619 have related similarities but there is one major modification that includes new terms for online gambling. A7622 wants to introduce a whole new aspect in the online gambling industry by allowing any business other than casinos to offer online gambling through video gaming terminals (VGT) such as poker and slot machines, as well as many other online games. This is not something new as many US states allow business other than casinos to offer this type of online gambling. A7619 has been conceived as A7622’s replica that Rep. Payne has been pushing for very long. In spite of this, A7619 is not including one of the major terms for this online gambling dispute, which is the authorization of VGT. Both amendments have not been able to succeed due to the despondent results: A7622 with 66-122 and A7619 with 81-107.
Pennsylvania’s gambling industry is considered one of the most relevant markets due to its fast growing, becoming one of the main competitors to iconic gambling paradises like Atlantic City. The number of casino resorts and the proximity to Delaware are the main reasons why the online industry does not seem to have a big impact in the state. Rep. John Payne has been fighting for the online gambling regulation since he introduced HB 649 in February of 2015, but HB 1925 came to play, vanishing the hope of any future legislation. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is still debating whether to open the online gambling market or not, even though the state has a number of options available. So far, Payne has turned his back on amendment A7622, as he is against the idea of introducing VGTs in business other than casinos.