Late last night, it was reported through various media outlets that Pennsylvania’s warring legislators had reached a tentative agreement regarding a gambling expansion plan. This will help the state finalize its strategy to fund its negative budget numbers with expanded gambling options, including online gambling.
According to the reports, lawmakers have agreed that revenue from online gambling and online poker will contribute to the sum of $225 million that the Keystone State hopes to make by expanding its gaming industry.
The Pennsylvanian Senate believes that $250 million could come from gambling revenue. It is speculated that the other $25 million will come from the state pushing up taxes on casino games such as blackjack from the current 15% to 20%.
If online gambling gets off the ground in Pennsylvania, sources say that online gambling license holders will need to fork out a one-off fee of up to $15 million. There will also be a tax rate of up to 20%.
Other interesting facts emerging from media outlets include the fact that the existing twelve brick-and-mortar casinos in Pennsylvania will be given permission to build up to ten satellite gaming facilities in remote areas across the state. This is to counter expected competition from other venues such as truck stops who will, possibly, be given permission under the new agreement to install video gambling terminals. This has been seen as a compromise reached between the Senate and the House of Representatives, since the latter was pushing for the installation of VGTs, while the Senate kept opposing it due to pressure from state casinos.
What does this all mean for Pennsylvania’s gambling future? Is it a done deal that online gambling is coming to Pennsylvania? The answer is no or, at least, not yet. Lawmakers obviously still have to go over the minute details of any new proposal and this will probably lead to a new round of negotiations between the Senate and the House. What we do know, however, is that a budget vote is scheduled for next week and a decision has to be reached by then.