[toc]The push for online poker in Pennsylvania is moving forward.
The latest step in the process is an upcoming joint hearing with members of both the Senate Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee and the House Gaming Oversight Committee.
Hearing scheduled for March 7
For the better part of last month, state legislators were trying to find time for the two committees to meet together and discuss impending online gambling legislation by both state Sen. Jay Costa and state Reps. George Dunbar and Rosita Youngblood.
Neither bill has been formally introduced, but both the Senate and House bills issued memoranda of co-sponsorship. Costa’s version of the bill covers several facets, including online poker, online casinos, daily fantasy sports, and reform of the problematic casino tax situation in the state.
According to the official announcement for the hearing, the purpose of the meeting is to “to receive testimony on casino gaming issues pertinent to both committees.” Representatives from the casino industry are also supposed to be included.
The meeting is set to take place on Tuesday, March 7 at 2 p.m. ET.
Online poker’s prospects in PA
The memo about the upcoming hearing does not explicitly state anything about online poker. Both bills seeking co-sponsorship include online gaming components though. There are other signs momentum is moving in iPoker’s direction too.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s recent budget proposal included $250 million in tax revenue from gambling expansion. Such a high number would not be factored in without online gambling being part of the revenue stream.
Wolf remained vague in a memo accompanying his budget about specifically where this additional $250 million would come from, but did say this:
“Given developments within the legislature, the governor’s proposed budget does not put forth a specific proposal for expansion, but merely assumes revenues within the current ideas being discussed.”
That statement seems to indicate the Governor would support a gambling expansion measure which includes an online gaming component. Wolf is a also Democrat, the party leading the charge behind the online gambling expansion in the Keystone State.
A recent white paper by PlayPennsylvania runs the numbers and explains why online gaming could be the solution to persistent budget woes in the state. In fact, it could end up being a billion-dollar industry.
How to take action
Those in Pennsylvania looking for some way to voice their support of online poker in the state can take action by reaching out to their state representatives via social media and email.
An action plan with contact information for Pennsylvania lawmakers is available here.
All it takes is a few clicks to make your voice heard.