Online Casino Bill introduced in Pennsylvania

pennsylvania online casinos

Looks like Pennsylvania has caught the online casino bug from neighbours Delaware and Ontario. Not a full blown flu at this stage…just the sniffles, with a bill introduced to their legislative committee on Monday which would, if successful legalise online casino games.

House Bill 1235 was introduced by Tina Davis with 11 co-sponsors. It will enable existing land based casinos in Pennsylvania (currently 12 including racetrack casinos or ‘racinos’) to obtain Internet gambling licenses from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. Once licensed, those casinos will then be able to offer internet games defined in the Bill as:

“table game, slot machine, or any other game approved by the regulation of Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to be suitable for the use of Internet gaming activities.”

So in addition to poker and slots, games such as blackjack, roulette and baccarat could well be offered online. Dealt live by Pennsylvania’s finest dealers? It’s possible.

As for legislation recently introduced in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware, this would be an intrastate measure with a requirement that logged on players be physically present within Pennsylvania state borders. As an additional security measure, players would also have to verify their online account in person at the casinos’ premises.

The risk of being left behind and losing revenue to states progressing online was a clear motivation for the Bill. Davis was quoted in the media saying, “If we do not protect our casinos and money in Pennsylvania, we will be hurt by all the competition.” 

As the 6th most populous state in the US (12.8 million, compared to Delaware 920,000, Nevada 2.8 million, New Jersey 8.9 million), and 2nd largest by casino revenues (behind Nevada, ahead of NJ) a move online by Pennsylvania would be a very significant one in the context of America’s online gambling debate.

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