Pennsylvania Online Poker Bill To Be Introduced By End Of June

Pennsylvania Online Poker Bill To Be Introduced By End Of JuneFollowing on from the recommendations highlighted in an Econsult feasibility study, Pennsylvania State Sen. Edwin Erickson has now announced he intends to introduce a new online poker-only bill “in the next few weeks.” If State Bill 1386 does eventually pass then Pennsylvania will join Nevada in allowing just online poker, unlike the other regulated states of New Jersey and Delaware which also permit online casino games.
Commenting on the decision to dismiss all other online gambling games in favour of just poker, Senator Erickson explained that poker “is unlike banking games in many respects that make it best for the introduction of interactive gaming.  Poker operators are not participants in the games and are indifferent as to the outcome.”
When the Keystone State originally introduced casino gambling back in 2006, it was hoped the industry would be sufficient to help balance the state’s budget but currently Pennsylvania is facing a huge $1.2 billion budget deficit, making the need to explore more revenue streams essential in order to avoid the other options of increased taxes and budget cuts to vital services, such as health care and education.
According to the feasibility study commissioned by Pennsylvania lawmakers, online poker has the potential to generate $129 million in revenues within its first year of operation, resulting in an extra $68 million in tax revenues for the state, increasing to $113 million by the second year. Consequently, Erickson’s SB1386 is an important ingredient in the state’s budgetary policy, with the State Senator commenting this week:
“In the next few weeks I intend to introduce Senate Bill 1386, legislation that would authorize Interactive Gaming in the form of online poker. 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.”
Amongst the key points noted in SB1386 is that a $5 million fee will have to be paid in order to receive an online poker license, but in return companies will only have to pay a 14% tax rate, lower than those rates paid by operators in neighbouring New Jersey. In addition, a ‘bad actor’ clause has been added to exclude companies having flaunted the 2006 UIGEA from obtaining a license in Pennsylvania.

Other news:   Multi-state online poker compact bill introduced in Pennsylvania

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