Unless it doesn’t.
The latest on PA online gambling
Earlier in the summer, Pennsylvania passed a gambling expansion bill that included a number of measures; among them were provisions allowing online gambling and poker in the state. That was HB 2150. (That bill also contain language that would regulate daily fantasy sports.)
The Senate did not take action on that bill, before it went on hiatus. However, the legislature did pass a budget package that counted on $100 million from gambling — online gambling included.
GamblingCompliance, however, reports that there is no guarantee the Senate will pass a gambling expansion until 2017 (paywall).
“Discussions are ongoing regarding the possibility of a gaming bill moving this fall,” Kate Eckhart, communications director for Republican Senate president pro tempore Joe Scarnati, told GamblingCompliance in a brief email.
The short timeframe for 2016
The Senate is scheduled to convene just nine times before the November elections — September 26, 27, 28 and October 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26.
That leaves precious little time to complete a gambling bill that has been contentious at times, even if the online gambling portion has not been particularly controversial. And if the Senate does pass a bill, the House would have to concur with that bill, if it is changed.
It all adds up to the very real possibility that action must wait until early next year.
Still, online gambling appears to be a heavy favorite
Even if nothing happens this calendar year, there’s not much reason to believe online gambling and poker aren’t in the cards.
The problematic discussions around gambling have mostly centered around expansions of slot machines and video gaming terminals. And despite the protests of Sands Bethlehem, most of the casinos are on board with legalizing online gambling.
And the fact remains the budget is counting on $100 million from gambling, and there’s almost no way to arrive at that figure without online gambling revenue.
So, whether it’s this year or next, online gambling proponents expect to see legalization of PA online casinos on the agenda.