Governor of Pennsylvania signs online gambling bill

Pennsylvania officially became the 4th state in the U.S. to have legalized online gambling, as Governor Tom Wolf signed a bill that had been approved by both the Senate and the Pennsylvania House. The bill allows regulated online gambling, daily fantasy spots (DFS), and the addition of more brick-and-mortar casinos, alongside other related things.

The state now joined Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey in permitting regulated online gambling to operate within the state borders.

The journey towards legalizing online gambling in Pennsylvania has been quite arduous. While lawmakers like Rep. George Dunbar, and former Rep. John Payne, had been at the helm of numerous pro-online gambling bills, for every major breakthrough for about 5 years, there were equally matching setbacks. As the motion received heavy opposition from those who believed it would be detrimental to the state’s traditional casino industry.

The Pennsylvania Senate had passed HB 271 by a 31-19 vote, and the gambling bill was expectedly signed by Governor Wolf. Now, Pennsylvania has already made its first million dollars in revenue. This fund was paid by Valley Forge Casino in a bid to ensure that its casino is open to the public, after previously been restricted to guests, membership holders, and patrons.

If the current trend continues, Pennsylvania’s earning from online gambling will continue to experience more upsurge.

With a host of online casinos that offer their own different packages, Pennsylvanians would now be able to legally play at sugarhouse and win big.

The twelve land-based casinos in the state would get the opportunity to apply first for online poker licences. The application would cost $4 million for online poker alone, and separate licences at $4 million each for online table games and slots. A fee of $10 million would be required if a casino applies for all three licences within 90 days.

The tax rate on gross gaming revenue will be 14%, and an additional 2% local tax―making a total of 16%; though the $4 million licence fee could deter some casinos and potential operators. The major problem with the bill is the tax rates, as online slots are billed 2% local tax with an additional 54% on gross revenue. This alongside the separate $4 million application fee is bound to take a toll on the industry before it even eventually kicks off.

In the meantime, there’s a 60-day waiting period before anything can be launched―though it’s realistic to say that that time might be a bit longer, considering several things are yet to be implemented. 

According to Chris Grove, a gambling industry analyst, Pennsylvania could witness an initial $100 million just in licensing fees. That’s a good enough reason for Pennsylvania to embrace the new gambling bill wholeheartedly.