Pennsylvania Online Gambling May Be Part Of State Budget Deal

June 27, 2016
Pennsylvania Online Gambling May Be Part Of State Budget Deal

The House of Representatives in Pennsylvania is considering regulation of online gambling as part of an effort to fund the budget in advance of a deadline just days away.

According to the Associated Press, the budget includes a gambling expansion that counts online gambling as part of a $31.5 billion spending plan that House Republicans want to advance.

The budget and online gambling, meant to be?

The state budget is due by June 30 — a soft deadline that the state legislature and Gov. Tom Wolf largely ignored for the past fiscal year.

But it appears lawmakers and the governor do not want to be tardy on the 2016-2017 fiscal year budget, after last year’s debacle — a final budget wasn’t signed until nine months after it was due.

Of course, online gambling was once a part of last fiscal year’s budget plans, before being taken out of the mix. This year’s effort seems more serious, however.

Where PA’s online gambling bill stands now

Last week, a fantasy sports bill was amended with an omnibus gambling package that has been floating around the legislature for the better part of the year.

The bill is currently in the House Appropriations Committee, and could be voted to the House floor on any day.

The PA Senate would appear to be on board with the House plan, after video gaming terminals in private taverns and clubs were not added to the bill.

If it’s truly ear-marked for the budget, we could see very quick progress on the gambling bill.

Is Gov. Wolf on board?

Wolf has been publicly lukewarm on the gambling bill. While he hasn’t dismissed it as a method of funding the budget, he is far from an outspoken proponent for it. The AP termed Wolf’s support of the House Republican plan as “uncertain.”

According to an earlier AP story on the gambling package:

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s support was conditioned on the legislation’s being part of a wider budget agreement with lawmakers.

And from GamblingCompliance:

So while online gambling appears to have a real chance at the finish line this year, a lot of possible speed bumps remain.

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