Tuesday December 8,2015 : ONLINE GAMBLING FEATURES IN PENNSYLVANIA BUDGET BILL
Politicians wrangle over cuts and content, but House bill names online gambling as a possible funding source.
With its budget measures for the year ahead now well over 5 months late, the Pennsylvania Legislature is trying to arrive at a compromise that both Republicans and Democrats…and the state governor… can live with, and online gambling has featured in the House version of a bill to address this.
Over the weekend the Pennsylvania State Senate and a House of Representatives committee wrangled over proposals that led to further passage of their respective budget bills at committee stage Monday.
The two bills have differences that will ultimately have to be reconciled, although the amounts budgeted do not differ that widely in relative terms – the Senate's at $30.8 billion, and the House at $30.3 billion.
Curiously, the Senate bill is largely silent on how it proposes to fund its proposal, whilst the House version approved by the House Appropriations Committee is more forthcoming and, among other possibilities, lists online gambling licensing, fees and tax, along with slot machines at off-track betting parlours as a possible source for $150 million.
InfoPowa readers will recall that the House Gaming Oversight Committee recently progressed Rep. John Payne's HB649, a proposal that online gambling within Pennsylvanian borders be legalised, regulated and licensed.
The publication Pennlive reports that this week will see the House version of the budget bill go to the floor for debate and possibly a vote.
The Senate may be a tougher nut to crack in online gambling terms, the report notes, speculating that significant numbers of lawmakers in the state Senate remain opposed to the legalization and a positive vote is unlikely.
Pennlive opines that the Senate budget bill (which has no online gambling legalization provisions) is more likely to attract the support of the state's notoriously difficult to please governor, Democrat Tom Wolf, but at some point both proposals will have to be reconciled.