Online slots, poker and table games for Keystone State
News of an online gambling bill coming to Pennsylvania has been circulating the internet for several months now and it was finally presented by Tina Davis last week. It is called House Bill 1235 and there is still a lot of work to be done before residents of the state will be able to enjoy online gambling options, if it will even get passed. With states like Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware already working on their offers, it was just a matter of time until other states tried to do the same.
In its current form, HB 1235 will allow the operators that already have slot machine licenses to go online and reach a wider customer base. Poker cash games and tournaments are also included in the bill and so are some table games that will need to be approved by the Gaming Control Board. While the bill does encourage online gaming, there are some casino games that are restricted such as bingo, keno and lotteries. The original concept of the bill was only to allow blackjack and poker so the addition of slots and other table games certainly makes it more appealing for gamblers.
Other important changes that have been made to the new bill compared to the one Davis originally proposed are related to taxes. Operators that will want a license will have to pay $5 million (not $16.5m) which will be approved or rejected in a maximum of 90 days and will last for three years. After that, the cost of renewal will be $500,000 and the operators will have to pay 28% (not 45%) of revenue in taxes every week. There is also no restriction mentioned as of yet that would not allow “bad actors” to apply for a license, like in Nevada.
Only players that are within state borders will be able to enjoy the online gambling options and there are also intrastate compacts that can be made with other states as long as they comply with federal law.
No online gambling in Illinois
In more worldwide news, Illinois legislators have dropped the online gambling portion of the expansion bill for the state. This means that gambling operators will not be able to get a license to go online. The remaining bill focuses more on brick and mortar casinos in Chicago and on introducing slots machines in the popular racetracks. The online gaming part was added to the bill quite recently and the strong opposition made the legislators drop it.
The good news is that there seems to yet be hope for online gambling in Illinois. The Senate president is looking to create an entirely new bill focusing on this aspect which will most likely be opposed by the racetrack operators.
The future of online gambling
With online gambling starting to gain momentum in the US as more states show interest and with the mGaming summit taking place last week, it is important to look towards the future. Right now, the future of gambling is mobile and this becomes clearer every quarter. More and more players are taking advantage of the mobility offered by some online casinos and with the new Google Glass hitting the market, the future seems to be very interesting. Check out Google Glass explained for more information on how software developers are already looking for ways to offer players the ultimate experience while on the move.
Of course, things are far from certain and what most American gamblers are now looking forward to is the result of the race between New Jersey and Nevada. The first offers should go live by the end of the year and it will be interesting to see which companies have the most success.