If the federal government — either through the courts or Congress — ever allows for regulated sports betting, it appears Pennsylvania will be among the first in line to offer it.

The latest on Pennsylvania and sports betting

Pennsylvania’s legislature has been eyeing legal sports betting for some time now.

Earlier this year, a House committee passed a resolution asking for Congress to repeal the federal law that prohibits sports betting in most jurisdictions: the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.

The latest momentum? The House Gaming Oversight Committee considered the subject of sports betting again during a recent hearing, and some members talked about it. From Penn Live:

“We all believe sports betting is a viable option,” said Rep. John Payne, R-Derry Twp., who chairs the House Gaming Oversight Committee. “It’s something that will come to fruition in the next year and I’m just making sure that when it does happen, we’re ready to implement it as soon as possible.”

Next year for sports betting, though?

Payne’s optimism about the timeframe for legal sports betting could be a bit misplaced.

While it’s possible that it could happen at some point in the future, a repeal of PASPA is likely still years away. However, a Congressional subcommittee will examine the topics of daily fantasy sports and sports betting on May 11.

There is a chance that we discover during that hearing that there is a federal appetite for revisiting the ban on sports betting outside of Nevada and limited wagering in three other states.

Of course, it’s also possible that sports betting becomes legal through the courts. New Jersey is fighting to allow sports betting within its borders; however, legal analysts believe the state will lose its current appeal.

Pennsylvania has also considered regulating the daily fantasy sports industry.

Next steps for PA sports betting

If Pennsylvania is truly serious about pushing for legal sports betting, it has a few things it could do:

  • The full legislature could pass the resolution mentioned above.
  • A bill legalizing sports betting could be drafted and passed.

Rep. Nick Kotik is in favor of the latter suggestion. More from Penn Live:

“I would like to engage the casino industry in a conversation about enacting a comprehensive bill so if and when the time comes that this is overturned by the Supreme Court that we’re ready and can move forward,” Kotik said to a panel of three Penn National executives.

Will Pennsylvania have legal sports betting any time soon? It won’t happen this year, but Pennsylvania will be at the forefront if and when it is possible.