his is not the first time that online gambling has made an appearance before Pennsylvania lawmakers; last year Chairman John Payne and Democratic Chair Nick Kotick tried to push ahead different bills to regulate the popular pastime, but to no avail.
Will This Year Be Different?
It seems that HB 392 has greater chances than its predecessors of succeeding, and here's why. The bill is being introduced after Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf earmarked $250 million for the state budget, which means that he is banking on online gambling receiving approval.
This bill also proposes a solution to the local tax-share issue that surfaced in September 2016. The issue arose when the Pennsylvania court ruled that local tax-share payments in the Gaming Act of 2004 were unconstitutional on the grounds that they favored some casinos over others. Pennsylvania lawmakers were left in the uncomfortable position of finding a fix, or suffering a $50,000 budget shortcoming. The slot license operation fee included in Dunbar’s bill offers a way to increase the state’s tax revenue without trimming the budgets of various areas within the state.
HB 392 includes measures for online gambling, daily fantasy sports, and a number of smaller gaming allowances, as did previous bills. Suggested revenue streams are as follows: a one-time fee of $8 million for an interactive gaming license, a $2 million licensing fee for each interactive gaming operator, a $250,000 renewal fee for interactive gaming licensees, and a $100,000 fee for interactive gaming operators.
The bill also proposes a tax rate of 14 percent gross revenue for online gaming operators, and a two percent tax rate on gross gaming revenue for host communities.