Friday December 6,2013 : PENNSYLVANIA LAWMAKER IN INTERNET WAGERING MOVE
State Senate Bill 1188 seeks wide-ranging changes that include internet wagering.
Dominic Pileggi, a Republican who is the Senate Majority Leader in the Pennsylvanian Senate, is the principal driver of a new state bill that seeks to make significant changes to the state's multi-billion horse racing industry.
His Bill 1188 seeks to phase out the two Racing Commissions that currently operate under the PA Department of Agriculture, replacing these with a new regulatory Bureau of Horse Racing falling under the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, which would also be given the authority to grant online horse-race betting licenses to casinos across the state.
The Bureau would have wide-ranging powers enabling it to tackle everything from drug testing enforcement to gift exchanges between breeders, owners, and trainers, reports The Huffington Post.
Pileggi says that his goal is to make Pennsylvania a national leader by ensuring the integrity of the horse racing industry; to continue the growth of an industry which provides more than 23,000 jobs in Pennsylvania; and to better fit the regulation of horse racing within the context of how Pennsylvania regulates other forms of legal gambling, such as slots, table games, small games of chance and the state lottery.
He wants to increase and move fines and fees, along with a significant percentage of both thoroughbred and standardbred breakage to the State Racing Fund to ensure the Gaming Control Board has the resources needed to enforce the act.
Pileggi proposes a surcharge on purses for marketing and promotion of Pennsylvania racing, and the establishment of a statutory framework for Internet wagering on horse racing.
Federal law has already created a lawful environment for online gambling on horse racing, Pileggi has pointed out, quoting the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act which makes it clear that: “…unlawful Internet gambling does not include placing, receiving, or otherwise transmitting a bet or wager where … the bet or wager does not violate any provision of … the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978.”
Piuleggi emphasised that he is not seeking to challenge the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act as is currently the case in neighbouring New Jersey, although he said that he and his associates were closely following developments in online gambling and sports betting in New Jersey.
In related news, the Pennsylvania state Senate has passed bill SR 273, which seeks to authorise the state Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to undertake a study of online gaming .
The study has been prompted by the development of online gambling in New Jersey, and the possible competitive threats that this might constitute.
The committee is tasked with reporting on its findings by May 1, 2014; New Jersey’s foray into online gambling was cited as justification for the enquiry.