Last year, it looked as though the state of Pennsylvania was going to be able to offer online casino and poker gaming as legislation was being considered by lawmakers. After months of deliberation, the state fell behind in efforts to pass a bill on the subject of online gambling and seemingly forgot about the option. Last week, it was announced that online gambling legislation was back on the table and up for discussion, only to be shot down by the House of Representatives that very same week. For now, it seems the online gambling legislation up for consideration is in limbo.
The House of Representatives of Pennsylvania voted twice on amendments that would provide online gambling to a bill this week and both times voted against the amendments. Each time a vote took place, House members brought the amendments back with motions to reconsider.
So what does this mean for online gambling in the state? Well, the option is definitely not shut down completely and should be considered in about two weeks’ time. Media outlets are reporting that the House will reconsider the option in June.
It was earlier this week that it was revealed that online gambling was back on the agenda of legislature. As well as other considerations for gambling expansions. When Tuesday arrived, lawmakers took a look at HB 1925 which had provisions for gambling that had once appeared in the HB 649 measure. Each of the proposed amendments failed to move forward and were considered the next day.
In each, there is an inclusion of online poker and casino gaming. The prospects of online gambling taking place within the state can happen, but for now it’s not necessarily about gambling online. The gambling expansion proposal as a whole is a way for the state to help fund the budget, helping a shortfall in pension funding.
Video gaming terminals are to be authorized in private clubs as well as taverns, with one measure wanting to see this happen and another does not. Most of the lawmakers in Pennsylvania are not opposed to an expansion of gambling but some are opposed to VGTs.
So, VGTs are the problem. Private clubs and taverns want to be able to provide video gaming terminals for a profit. Casinos do not want these games to be allowed as they might see a decrease in slot game play. Casinos are also not together on the subject of online casino gaming. So you have one group who wants to see VGTs launched. One group that wants to avoid it at all costs, as well as maybe not being on board with online casino gaming.
This issue is going to be a strong one when it comes to creating the right legislation for online gambling to take place as well as cover other aspects of gaming expansion. On June 6th, HB 1925 will be heard in full House again and the two amendments will be up for discussion yet again. The House would like to pass one of the amendments so movement can be made to the Senate. The Senate however, has long been opposed to the measure involving VGTs due to the interests of casinos.
So, one could assume that even if the VGT bill was to move forward, the Senate would not pass the measure and the state would be back to square one. For now, we will have to wait and see what happens in June and if either of the amendments will be able to move forward. Something will have to be done if the state ever wants to see online gambling taking place within its borders.