Budget talks continued behind closed doors over the weekend, and by every account, a compromise on a comprehensive gaming reform package is taking shape.
Pennsylvania State Senator Jay Costa was confident enough to say he expects a gaming package to pass by the end of the week.
The comment came during Twitter Town Hall on Sunday night.
In a subsequent response, Sen. Costa gave a narrow timeframe for passage, saying he anticipates the budget would be finalized on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Online gaming in Pennsylvania comes out on top
It’s also come to light that whatever the final package looks like, online gambling in Pennsylvania will 100 percent will be included.
Costa’s comments line up with what US Poker have been hearing from multiple sources in the Keystone State.
This is welcome news, as opponents of online gambling in Pennsylvania were not only spouting off their usual anti-online rhetoric but were offering alternative proposals, and/or trying to submarine the online gaming bill with untenable tax rates and other restrictions.
In the end, the best proposal won out, and from the sound of it, the tax rate will be onerous, but not insurmountable.
The clock is still ticking
Until the bill passes and the Governor signs it, it’s hard to get too excited. But a bill passing is more and more likely with each passing day.
After kicking the can for the better part of two years, Pennsylvania needs to put up or shut up.
A congruence of events have increased the already substantial pressure on the legislature to finalize the gaming reform package:
- The state needs to fix the local share tax conundrum that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court dropped in its lap at the end of 2016. The next “deadline” to reinstate the local share tax is in mid-July.
- Standard & Poor has threatened the state with another downgrade if it doesn’t make a real attempt at getting its economic house in order.
- Besides online gambling, there are no other good options to raise immediate, non-disruptive revenue.
Effectively, this issue is at a point where the legislature needs to do what needs to be done. If the legislature doesn’t act it should be prepared for the negative consequences that will result from its inaction.