nline gambling has been on Pennsylvania’s radar for several years. What is HB 649 all about? What will be the tax rate for operators?
Online gaming first came up in the Gaming Oversight Committee discussions in early 2015. HB 649 would authorize internet gaming, slot machines at non-primary locations, slot machines at international airports, casino simulcasting, multistate wide-area progressive slot machines, skill and hybrid slot machines, private testing of gaming devices, 24 hour sales of alcohol, 5-year renewal periods and other changes related to Category 3 slot machine licenses. The tax would be 14% plus license fee of $8 million for an iGaming Certificate and $2 million for an iGaming Operator license.
What would be the economic impact of the proposed bill on the state?
Approximately $225 million.
"All expansion by our border states (New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Ohio) creates pressure on our State to improve our gaming products to stay competitive"
When you came up with HB 649, the idea was to use the revenue to fix a budget deficit in the state's pension program. How have things changed since then?
We are still attempting to fix the budget deficit and pension shortfall.
Rumors say that your bill is likely to be considered in June. Based on the conversations you've been having with public officials, are you optimistic about the near future?
I am very optimistic the bill will come up in June.
How are Pennsylvania's efforts regarding Daily Fantasy Sports regulation coming along?
There is a fantasy sports report due back from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board in early June.
In a recent interview, Rep. George Dunbar noted that the gambling expansion in North Jersey would represent a threat to Pennsylvania. Do you agree with his statements? Why?
Yes, I agree with his statement. Additionally, all expansion by our border states (New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Ohio) creates pressure on our State to improve our gaming products to stay competitive.
Why -in your opinion- is it taking so long for US states to adopt regulation that caters to the growing demand for gambling in all its forms?
There is plenty of opposition from other gambling sources and the anti-gambling group. Gambling is always going to occur. My job is to protect our children and the compulsive gambler, while regulating and growing the state’s portion of revenue.
Access HB 649.