Pennsylvania now 4th state to legalize online gambling

It’s been a long time coming and finally Pennsylvania has become the 4th US state has signed off on a bill to legalize online gambling. Who will be next?

The bill is law

Proponents of legalizing online gambling in Pennsylvania have been working towards this goal for five years now and whilst the main advocate has changed in the meantime, early supporters were still behind the latest version of the online gambling bill.

Only days ago the Pennsylvania House voted 109 to 72 in favour of Bill H 271. The State Senate had already approved the bill and the House followed without much of an issue. The only thing that remained was the signing of the bill into law by Governor Tom Wolf and he did so yesterday, which was confirmed in a Tweet. Now the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will be finalizing the regulations and then begin with the licensing process.

Details of Bill H 271

The bill just about covers every aspect of online gambling that needs to be covered. Provisions are made for the currently 12 land-based casinos in Pennsylvania to apply for online gambling licenses, which cover slots, table games and online poker. Beyond that sportsbetting, lottery products, daily fantasy sports and video gaming terminals, tablet gaming at airports and even the building of up to 10 satellite casinos are covered in the bill as well.

Licenses can be applied for within 90 days by existing operators, though there will be an additional 120-day window beyond that. Licenses that cover poker, slots and other online casino games will cost $10 million, but it’s also possible to get a license for just one of the products, which will then cost $4 million each.

It’s worth noting that online slots are currently supposed to be taxed at 54%, which many consider excessive. New Jersey, for instance, only taxes 17.5% on slots. Other casino games and poker on the other hand are going to be taxed at 16%. Some believe the high taxation of slots is meant to discourage operators to offer too many slots, because they’re considered more addictive than other forms of gambling.

Who’s next?

Now that Pennsylvania is well on its way to open its first online casinos, the question is: which state will be next to legalize online gambling? Concrete moves have already been made in New Hampshire, New York, California and Massachusetts as well as Illinois. But thus far no concrete steps have been taken to move things along. Perhaps Pennsylvania’s example will push other states into action now. We’ll keep you updated.