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Online Poker Bill Introduced in Pennsylvania

Holding true to a promise made a couple of weeks ago, Pennsylvania Sen. Edwin Erickson introduced an online poker bill to his legislative colleagues yesterday.

Co-sponsored by Sen. Bob Mensch, the proposal allows those within the Keystone State to compete amongst one another and also calls for interstate compacts with other U.S. jurisdictions that have online poker schemes of their own, the Upper Southampton Patch reported. That makes two years in a row that a Pennsylvania lawmaker has formally proposed igaming regulations following the legislative volley of Rep. Tina Davis in 2013.

While Davis’ measure failed to gain traction, lawmakers are likely much more prepared this year considering that a Pennsylvania Senate committee held an online gambling hearing on June 3. The hearing educated lawmakers as to the benefits of igaming regulations based on a recent study by Econsult Solutions that found cannibalization of land-based casino revenue will not be a factor should online gambling be approved.

Developments in technology and recent legal decisions have created an opportunity to legalize interactive poker as a means to further enhance and complement the benefits delivered by casino gaming, licensed facilities and the communities in which they operate,” stated Erickson’s proposal, SB 1386.

The bill, which sets a 14% tax rate on gross gaming revenue, made its way to the Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee following its formal introduction. A bad actor clause that aims to prevent gaming companies that remained in the U.S. market post-UIGEA from participating is contained within the measure.

Many are wondering which state will be next to join Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey in regulating online poker. The two who seem most serious at this juncture are Pennsylvania and California.

The odds are likely better for Pennsylvania considering that a coalition of California Indian tribes hold tremendous disregard for a recent partnership between PokerStars, three card rooms, and one tribe. The lack of cohesion seems almost certain to hinder legislative progress in the Golden State at least for the time being.



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Charles Rettmuller

Charles has been an avid poker player for a number of years, both live and online. He holds a degree in journalism and previously worked as a reporter for a Chicago-based newspaper. Charles joined the PokerUpdate team in early 2012 and writes daily news articles for the site.