Friday, May 20, 2016 : PENNSYLVANIAN LEGALISATION BILL MARKING TIME BUT STILL ACTIVE (Update)
Issue complicated by attempts to include daily fantasy sports in what is beginning to look like an omnibus gambling reform bill.
If you were wondering what happened to the once-promising online gambling legalization bill HB649 in Pennsylvania, here's an update from the respected Online Poker Report publication, which this week caught up with author Rep. John Payne to get clarity on the current position.
Payne told OPR that the bill is still active, and his goal continues to be driving the measure through in order to use its tax revenues to close Pennsylvania's state pension deficit.
He still believes that this will be possible this summer, despite the apparent hiatus in activity since it passed its last committee hearing.
Payne assured OPR that he has kept HB649 current by moving it on and off the House table, but that even if it failed there was still the possibility of attaching his proposal to a budget bill, debate on which could extend into autumn or even winter.
Progress has been complicated by successive amendments that have tended to change the original bill from an exclusively online gambling piece of legalization to an almost omnibus gambling reform proposal, with the latest vertical to be added possibly a daily fantasy sports legalization proposal.
Lawmakers on Payne's House Gaming Oversight Committee are currently awaiting the report of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on DFS due May 27, with a hearing scheduled for June 1, and that could impact HB649 as requests for its inclusion mount, Payne explained.