- The much-awaited gambling expansion bill in Pennsylvania won’t be passed before the fall
- Political disagreements stopping the state from filling in the big budget deficit
Although the proposed online casino expansion is seen as one of the main ideas for Pennsylvania to cope with the budget deficit, it seems clear now that nothing will happen in this regard before the autumn of this year. State lawmakers are taking their summer vacation, so the discussion on the topic will only continue in September when they return.
Gaping hole in the budget
The fact that the expansion bill hasn’t been passed yet comes as somewhat of a surprise since the lawmakers are looking at it as the way to secure funds for the state budget deficit that stands at $2 billion. With lawmakers being away for the time being, those in the know are hoping that the issue will finally be resolved when things are back on the schedule in September.
The current draft of the bill encompasses online gambling, online lotteries, as well as increasingly popular Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS). It was passed by the House back in June and it seemed it was well on the way to be fully ratified and signed into law, but, like so many times before when it comes to online gambling regulations in the States, things came to a halt.
Political disagreements hindering the bill
The main reason why the proposed gambling expansion bill hasn’t been turned into law just yet is the unwillingness of the Republicans in the state House to compromise. Because of this, the issues of taxation rate and licensing fees are still up for a debate until there is a solution that all parties would be agreeable to.
Prior to this, there was also a question if VGTs (Video Gaming Terminals) should also be included in the expansion bill, but it was finally decided by the local Senate that they don’t belong in the current proposal.
With all the delays and obstacles, the question of patching up the state budget deficit remains unanswered. The expansion of online gambling is seen as the most logical and natural way for Pennsylvania to deal with this issue, and that’s why many lawmakers were quick to extend their support for the bill. Everything seemed to be right on track in July, but political disagreements have once again stopped the entire process, with optimistic hopes that autumn sessions will finally lead to some sort of a consensus.
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