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Pennsylvania online gambling bill already in the Senate

June 21, 2014

The different US states are little by little working on the online gambling market to make it one secure and safe frame for operators as well as gamblers. The different bills from the gambling US States like Delaware's, Nevada and New Jersey, have opened the doors to a market that needs to be regulated by some sort of institution, either state or federal, because there are more US states interested in opening their online gambling markets as one of the main tax sources for the state of Pennsylvania. The state Senate has taken in consideration Pennsylvania online gambling bill sponsored by Senator Edwin Erickson as it presents several major changes that needed to be made in order for Pennsylvania's online gambling market to success: "In the next few weeks I intend to introduce Senate Bill 1386, legislation that would authorize interactive gaming in the form of online poker. Many Pennsylvania residents participate in illegal and unregulated poker sites. Establishing a strong regulatory framework under the Gaming Control Board will assist in shutting down these illegal sites and enhance consumer protection for our gaming residents. A recent study from the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee found that internet gaming is a large new source of revenue that the Commonwealth could explore. This means more revenue to assist in the reduction of real estate taxes."

The first of those changes has been the new concept of "Authorized Game"; this term is now having a new definition of “authorized game”, avoiding the line that bans any other online games rather than poker games. The new bill does not include the statement "The board only may approve poker games pursuant to this chapter" anymore, showing now “Any interactive game approved by the board pursuant to this chapter". These changes are bringing the possibility to other online gambling operators such as online betting houses and casino operators.

No more changes will be introduced in Pennsylvania's online gambling bill, showing the same terms than the old online gambling legislation in the state. However, the bill still allows the state of Pennsylvania to work with other states or US territories on interstate online gambling networks like the other US gambling states are already working on. Of course, the bill includes the Bad Actor clause as the US gambling states still want to prevent the Federal Government actions against unsafe markets, as a violation of the UIGEA. The State will ban "any trademark, trade name, service mark or similar intellectual property that is used to identify any aspect of the Internet website or the operator offering the wagers or interactive games to its customers from companies that accepted Pennsylvania players after December 31, 2006".

Pennsylvania Tax Collection will be showing changes; for online gamblers, the state has fixed a 14 percent tax rate where promotions can be deducted. For online gambling operators, licensing fees would be $5 million, while other vendors licensing fees have not been set yet. Taxes will be required from both, licensed and unlicensed operators; however, unlicensed operators will not be exempt from state suits if they ever offer any other services than legal gambling. Bot Games will not be allowed as this type of games provides characters that can be controlled by computers, allowing players to make use of third-party software programs to control their characters.


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