Pennsylvania House Votes Against iGaming BillMay 25, 2016 10:28 am
On Tuesday, Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives voted against separate amendments to online gambling legislation that would have paved the way for regulated online casino and poker games, as well as fantasy sports being offered in the state.
The first amendment proposed that would have allowed video gaming terminals (VGTs) to be placed at bars, and social clubs was rejected by a vote of 122-66; while the second amendment seeking to place VGTs at airports, and off-track horse betting sites met a similar fate and was rejected by 107-81.
Pennsylvania is currently considering expanding its $3 billion gambling market in order to help plug some of the $1 billion plus gap in its state budget. The latest nay votes have now thrown the whole process into confusion, although immediately after the bills were rejected the House then agreed to reconsider the proposals in the near future. In the meantime, the different sides will have to produce a revised version of the gaming package that will stand a better chance of appeasing the different parties.
That will be easier said than done, though, as Pennsylvania’s 12 licensed casinos are divided on the whole legalized internet gambling issue, with venues such as the Mohegan Sun Casino supporting it, while others like the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem strongly opposed to regulation. All sides, however, stand firmly against more VGTs being offered around the state, and as Mohegan Sun CEO Michael Bean explains:
“We would have never agreed to invest $659 million in Pennsylvania if we thought this was coming. The inclusion of video gaming terminals in this bill is particularly troubling. If you add to the supply, it’s going to cannibalize the casinos. It will damage a model that’s been very successful for Pennsylvania.”
Even if the House does find a compromise deal which allows for more VGTs, such a bill is unlikely to find much support in the Senate which has already indicated that it was against such a move. Therefore, it seems likely that the whole process will drag on for some time to come, and with no obvious resolution in sight.