his is not the first time that iGaming has made an appearance before state lawmakers; last year John Payne and Nick Kotick tried to push ahead different bills to regulate the activity. Why does HB 392 have greater chances of succeeding than its predecessors? What are the reasons to remain optimistic about the passage of the bill?
HB 392 has a better chance solely because we have included 100 million in this year’s budget to come from enhanced gaming. I am very optimistic that either it or a Senate sponsored bill will get done. It seems like most of the important decision makers -leaders in general assembly and governor’s office- are not opposed and some are actually supportive.
Without online gaming, how hard will it be for Pennsylvania to hit gaming projections?
For fiscal year 16/17 we will not hit the projected additional 100 million without iGaming
There is just no other bills out there with the potential to produce that much revenue that quickly. The 100 million will come from initial licensing fees (the bill sets the fee at 8 million per casino, we have 12 casinos).
What will be the key points of discussion at the joint hearing? How can the House and Senate hash out the differences regarding the particulars of the gaming reform bill and come to an agreement?
I assume the local share fix will be heavily discussed. I’m not sure if there are great differences between the House and the Senate Republicans. The Senate Democrats have been reticent to commit. And although we can pass legislation without them it will help get the governor on board if the Senate Democrats are on board.
How will the bill fix the local share tax situation?
Final fix is still being discussed. My bill calls for an annual slot license fee of 20% of what a casino paid for their original license. All our Category 1 and category 2 casinos paid 50 million original fee. So they would pay 10 million per year (which is what the old LSA was).
When do you anticipate online gaming to officially go live in the Keystone State?
I truly do believe that I gaming and DFS legislation needs to happen to satisfy our revenue projections and with that being the case I’m confident it will be done before July. I would assume if that’s the case that the gaming control board can get regs out and the casinos can get organized and live by early 2018.