STILL NO PROGRESS ON PENNSYLVANIAN ONLINE GAMBLING LEGALIZATION (Update)
Time really is running out for passage this season.
Hopes that this week would see the Pennsylvanian Senate voting on an US online gambling and DFS legalization bill already passed by the House four months ago dwindled Wednesday when no progress was made and the legislatures season officially closed.
Now legalization hangs on the slim thread of two additional House special sessions for late business scheduled for mid-November, and a single Senate session planned for November 18 (both after the presidential election).
It has to be said that the odds are not good for passage, which will mean the process will start all over again next year, but with a possibly different set of lawmakers and agendas; certainly House Gaming Oversight Committee chairman and legalization champion John Payne will have gone….he has already announced his retirement.
Heres how things unfolded this week. The Senate failed to take any action on HR2150 (thats the bill passed by the House in June legalizing online gambling and DFS, along with some land gambling additions).
Instead, it concerned itself with the tax issue raised by the state Supreme Court by passing a new bill with a temporary fix to the problem, which it sent to the House late Tuesday sans any legalization additions or amendments.
House Republicans were less than pleased by the Senates failure to address HR2150, as evidenced by a comment from Steve Miskin, spokesman for House Majority Leader Dave Reed, who said:
"Expanded gambling is needed to balance the 2016-17 budget and it could have been accomplished along with the court-required fix."
The House in turn failed to address the temporary tax fix, but agreed on a further session for today (Thursday) when it will be discussed. It is difficult to see how the legalization issue can be inserted into this discussion, leaving the brief November sessions the last hope.
In the only bright spot in the week, a Gambling Compliance journal tweeted an excerpt from a letter signed by the majority of Pennsylvania’s land casino operators and addressed to the state political leadership, emphasizing that whilst they may have different views on online gambling, they would prefer to see it legalized and producing revenues and jobs rather than be lumbered with additional taxes.