Pennsylvania House Budget Plan Favors iGambling

Pennsylvania House Budget Plan Favors iGambling Pennsylvania is currently suffering from a $2 billion deficit in its roughly $30 billion state budget, with some politicians seeing online gambling as providing a potential means of narrowing that gap by an estimated $120 million per annum. Nevertheless, the Republican-controlled legislature and the Democratic governor Tom Wolf have been locked in a 5 month long stalemate over taxes and expenditure with no apparent end in sight.
This week, the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate both then submitted rival budget plans for approval, but while the House’s plan favors expanded gambling throughout Pennsylvania, including allowing state casinos to offer gambling products online, the Senate version appears to envisage no such thing.
Meanwhile, the Senate budget would cost $30.8 billion compared to the $30.3 billion sought by the House, with the extra $500 million to be funded by a combination of means, including new taxes, pension reforms, and permitting private enterprises to sell liquor outside of the state-controlled monopoly. Another suggested money stream could involve cutting educational funding. However, this remains one of the most contentious issues, especially since during his campaign trail Governor Wolf’s platform included boosting contributions to education.
One piece of positive news, as far as online poker players are concerned, is that Pennsylvania may still yet consider online gambling as a practical means to pay for the budget, in combination with a number of other revenue streams. Furthermore, Rep. John Payne, co-sponsor of iGaming legislation HB 649, said that if the state’s 2015-16 fiscal year budget did not contain a provision for online gambling, then he would continue lobbying for legalization in 2016.

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