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Pennsylvania Legalizes Online Poker as Gov. Tom Wolf Signs IGaming Package into Law


tom wolf signs igaming bill to legalize online poker in pa

Just a week after both the Senate and the House came to an agreement for the very first time on H 271, an iGaming expansion package, Governor Tom Wolf signed the bill into law, making Pennsylvania officially the fourth state to legalizing online gaming, including online poker, table games, and slots.

What Is Included in the Gaming Expansion?

Pennsylvania, already the second-largest commercial casino state in the country, will expand further still with the additions that the gaming expansion brings.

Online Gambling:
The main component of the bill is online gambling which sets to legalize and regulate online casino games such as table games, slots, and poker. All licensed casinos within the state will be able to apply for licenses to operate the above online games for a fee of $4 million each, or $10 million for all three. In addition, Pennsylvania will become the first state in the nation to allow both casino games and the lottery to be played online. The Pennsylvania Lottery will not be allowed to operate casino-style games such as slots and poker, but it will be able to offer keno and its existing games, raffles, and instant tickets.

Daily Fantasy Sports:
It’s another legislative win for the DFS industry as Pennsylvania becomes the 17th state to officially legalize and regulate it. Operators would have to shell out $50,000 for a five-year license and its gross revenue is taxed at 15 percent. Considering PA has a population of 12.8 million people, operators should be glad to pay $10,000 a year to offer DFS to its players.

Satellite Casinos:
Pennsylvania is home to twelve land-based casinos, with two of them considered as resorts-only. The ten larger casinos will be eligible to bid on a satellite casino license that allows up to 750 slot machines and 30 table games to be installed at a facility that is situated more than 25 miles from another casino. Bidding will start at $7.5 million with an option of adding a table games certificate for a further $2.5 million.

Video Gambling Terminals:
Truck stops that sell more than 50,000 gallons of diesel per month (roughly 100-150) will be permitted to install up to five slot-style video gaming terminals.

Airport Gambling:
Qualifying airports will be allowed to offer gaming kiosks at ticketed passengers-only access zones.

Gambling Revenue to Help Balance State’s Budget

One of the reasons why Gov. Tom Wolf was so quick to sign the bill was because there was an urgent need to patch the $2.2 billion budget deficit.

“There’s been a lot of pressure from a lot of places in the Commonwealth to actually expand this and we do need some recurring revenue. Again, the goal has been all along to do what’s prudent, not cannibalize existing gambling revenue coming to the state, and I think what we’re settling on will actually do that.”

Using New Jersey’s successful iGaming industry as a template, lawmakers in Pennsylvania is expecting the new gambling expansion to generate in excess of $200 million per year from license fees and taxes.

Considering the fact that Pennsylvania ranks number 1 when it comes to tax revenue generated from the casino industry, as well as its lottery also being one of the biggest in the country, it’s not hard to see the projection being met.

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Elaine West
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