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Pennsylvania moves closer to legalizing online gambling

24 May 2017

By Abby Messick
Pennsylvania's HB 271, a bill that would allow online gambling, passed the Senate today with a 38-12 vote.

The bill passed quickly through legislation on Tuesday, passing the Senate Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee by a margin of 11-3 and clearing the Senate Appropriations Committee with a vote of 24-2.

The next stop is another vote in the House, likely to be held in June.

HB 271 will legalize online casinos and online poker while allowing wagers on fantasy sports contents and the purchase of online lottery tickets. The bill will also address the Supreme Court decision to remove a tax share fee that provided municipalities in Pennsylvania with $142 million per year. Casinos would pay $10 million annually.

Revenue for online slot machines and table games will be taxed at 54% — the same rate as land-based slot machines in the state — while online poker will be taxed at a rate of 16%. As for fantasy sports, operators will be taxed at 12%.

Proponents say a 54% tax rate is steep and a potential hurdle to getting online operations off the ground. Even trickier is the proposed licensing fee of $5 million, with a $250,000 yearly renewal. These rates may be adjusted during a future vote in the House.

"Extraordinarily high tax rates or license fees could change the narrative significantly, especially for prospective online poker operators, who may find the cost prohibitive and choose to opt out of Pennsylvania," said analyst Robert DellaFave in a recent report on the state's potential online gambling revenue. "Online casino operators, too, would be forced to tighten their belts, resulting in poorer promotions, tighter games and (perhaps) fewer operators."

DellaFave goes on to say that even a 25% tax rate, proposed by Sen. Jay Costa in January, could prove to be too high, reducing retention rates and negatively impacting marketing spend.

"The entire [online] industry thinks it should be 15% but not more than 20%,” Rep. Scott Petri, chairman of the House Gaming Oversight Committee, said to Fox News.

The state stands to make up to $230 million in online casino revenue in the first year of legalization, according to PlayPennsylvania.


Pennsylvania moves closer to legalizing online gambling is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.
 

New York Senate Finance Committee passes online poker bill

9 May 2017
On Tuesday, the New York Senate Finance Committee passed online poker bill S3898, sponsored by Senator John J. Bonacic. The bill will now continue on to the Senate for further consideration. The bill, previously passed by the Senate in 2016 before being shelved in the Assembly, was re-introduced on 27 January this year. ... (read more)
 

Top 10 casinos in the US by number of employees

14 April 2017
If you run a successful establishment of any kind, you're going to need help – lots of it. That goes double for casinos, whose gaming floors are bustling with activity, often open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This week's top 10 list features casinos in the U.S. that get it – rest assured, if you visit any of these locations, you're in for a good experience. ... (read more)
 

Caesars Entertainment introduces skill-based games to Las Vegas

3 April 2017
A Gamblit Poker unit. (photo by BSK Photo)Skill-based games have finally made their long-awaited debut in Las Vegas at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in the form of Gamblit Gaming's Gamblit Poker and Cannonbeard's Treasure, with more titles to be added in the future. These interactive table games, played ... (read more)

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Abby Messick
Abby graduated from Champlain College in 2013 with a degree in Professional Writing. She didn't expect to end up in the casino industry, but it's proving to be an educational experience.
Abby Messick
Abby graduated from Champlain College in 2013 with a degree in Professional Writing. She didn't expect to end up in the casino industry, but it's proving to be an educational experience.