HB 649

HB 649-The Proposed Online Gambling Bill by Pennsylvania

With online gambling activities flourishing in its border states like New Jersey, it was inevitable that online gambling activities were legalized in Pennsylvania. Reading Eagle has now broken the news that Senator John Penn has introduced a bill in the senate to legalise online betting. The online betting bill is all set to be taken up for debate in the House of Representatives in June. The proposed bill- HB 649 – has now turned out to be the moot point of discussion in many circles, particularly amongst groups who are ardent supporters of online gambling activities.

The Online Gambling Bill

Close on the heels of successful passing of the budget for the financial year 2015-16 without any amendments by the Governor, Tom Wolf, in spite of a budgetary deficit to the tune of one billion dollars, the talk now is about HB 649. Senator John Penn however has focussed his bill not to shore up the income of the state with additional revenue through his bill. The main plank of Penn is to safeguard the vulnerable sections of the state from the evils of illegal online gambling activities, which is in slowly but steadily spreading its tentacles across the state. As not only the obsessive gamblers but also the children who are the prime targets of the illegal betting operators, Penn strongly feels that it is the opportune time to introduce the bill and save those who are otherwise likely to succumb to the illegal gambling syndicate.

The Role of Existing Players

HB 649 envisages the involvement of existing land based casinos in online activities. But for Sheldon Adelson, one of the prominent existing casinos in Pennsylvania, the other eleven casinos are likely to opt for the chance to offer online gambling games like Tiki Island Slot games. And as per the bill envisaged by John Penn, who incidentally has categorically has said that he does not intend to run for another term, at the end of the present tenure, a tax rate of 14% is to be levied on the online games. It is estimated that this revenue could offset the budgetary losses by at least 5 million dollars.

Wishes of the Majority

The bill to legalise online betting activities, which has come before the end of the term of the present House of Representatives has made the people of the state anxious and worried. With everyone being aware of the vociferous support to the bill by Penn and his decision not to run for another term, the big time fans of games like Tiki Island Slot are hoping that the bill HB 649 is successfully passed in the senate before the term of office of John Penn comes to an end. Reading Eagle in fact had conducted a poll to gauge the support of the people for the bill on online gambling in Pennsylvania and the result is overwhelming in favour of making online gambling a legal activity, with more than 60% of those who were questioned supporting the bill.

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