On Monday, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed new legislation that massively expands online gaming opportunities in the state.
This new legislation makes Pennsylvania the fourth state to legalize online gaming, following Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada. The law also opens up some airport and truck stop locations to gaming, and legalizes fantasy sports and sports betting sites.
“There’s been a lot of pressure from a lot of places in the Commonwealth to actually expand this,” Wolf told reporters. “We do need some recurring revenue so the goal all along has been to do what is prudent without cannibalizing existing gambling revenues coming to the state. And I think what we are settling on will actually do that.”
Governor Wolf’s signature comes as no surprise to anyone following budget discussions in the Pennsylvania House. In late October, the House approved a budget that still had a $2.2 billion deficit. Speculation that legalized gaming would balance the budget proved to be correct.
Already, Pennsylvania casinos acquire more revenue than in any other state except Nevada, according to the American Gaming Association. Additionally, Pennsylvania has the top casino tax revenue in the country, summing up to $1.4 billion in the most recent fiscal year.
Pennsylvania lawmakers predict that various online gaming services could generate $200 million dollars in annual revenue for the state, Online Poker Report has reported. Under the new legislation, slot machines will be taxed at 54 percent and table games and poker at 16 percent.
For five years, Pennsylvania has struggled to legalize online gaming ever since Representative Tina Davis first introduced bill H1235 in April 2013. Now that Pennsylvania has finally passed such legislation, it’s possible that other states are not far behind. Both Connecticut and Mississippi are beginning the process of legalizing sports betting, with other states to follow.