Differences Between the House and Senate Stall Legislation Revision for Online Gaming in Pennsylvania
The state government of Pennsylvania has yet again provided proof of its indecisiveness and inability to come to a common ground by impeding the legislation process for online gaming that has been a major point of discussion for several months now, to say the least. In the wake of the current economic crunch that the state is experiencing, the lawmakers are constantly trying to devise strategies for increasing the state revenues by different means.
While there have been numerous discussions among the Governor, the Senate and the House, their inability to resolve the crisis has ensured that the state still experiences a whopping $2 million shortfall in the budget. The governor of Pennsylvania Tom Wolf proposed levying hefty taxes from the general public in the state to compensate for the shortfall. However, his proposal met with major opposition both from the citizens who shunned the idea of paying additional taxes and the House that is largely dominated by the Republicans.
Apart from this, both the Senate and the House proposed the idea of promoting online gaming as a means for procuring higher revenues and addressing the budget shortfall. However, this proposal too sparked a lot of heated discussions and debates on how exactly the government proposes to generate revenues through online gambling.
Looking back at the history of online gambling in Pennsylvania, the racetracks and land based casinos in the state have been quite a success in the past. However, when both Delaware and New Jersey issued legalization for online gaming, the lawmakers in Pennsylvania too started considering a new legislation for making the activity legal in the state. As a result of which, Tina Davis the State Representative in Pennsylvania Introduced a bill HB1235 back in 2013 for the legalization of both online casino games and online poker.
The HB1235 was actively opposed by Governor Tom Wolf on the pretext that online gambling was more of a temporary and volatile fix to the situation and more stable measure such as tax increase was required. Both the House and Senate opposed Wolf’s idea leading to the reintroduction of the 2013 Bill by the House Representative John Payne with a different name HB649. Given the fact that the Senate did not wish to stay in the background, Senator Kim Ward too introduced another SB900 for revising the licensing regulations for online gambling.
In a nutshell, the legislation for online gambling in Pennsylvania currently appears to be a lost cause and there is still a long way to go before the lawmakers are able to reach a common ground.