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Abby Messick

Abby graduated from Champlain College in 2013 with a degree in Professional Writing. She didn't expect to end up in the casino industry, but it's proving to be an educational experience.

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Pennsylvania becomes fourth US state to OK online gambling

26 Oct 2017

By Abby Messick
The Pennsylvania House passed a bill that will legalize online casinos and poker today with a 109-72 vote, following the bill's amendment and subsequent passage by the Senate yesterday. Now, H 271 awaits a signature from Governor Tom Wolf. This makes Pennsylvania the fourth U.S. state to say yes to online gambling.

The lengthy bill includes provisions for daily fantasy sports, sports betting, online slot machines, table games, poker and lottery products. It also authorizes video gaming terminals at certain truck stops, tablet gaming at airports, and up to 10 satellite casinos.

The tax rate may prove to be a bit of a hiccup moving forward, as online slot machines will be taxed at 54%, a percentage many feel is steep. New Jersey, by comparison, has a 17.5% tax for online slots. Online table games and online poker in Pennsylvania will be taxed at a rate of 16%.

H 271 does allow for operators to purchase separate licenses: one for online slots, one for house-banked games and one for online poker. A license including all three verticals can be purchased for $10 million by existing casino operators, provided the purchase is made within the first 90 days of the licenses being made available. Each license is $4 million separately.

PlayPennsylvania has projected $364 million in annual revenue for the state, but that number may change as the effects of the tax rates play out.
 
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