Pennsylvania on the Front Lines

Pennsylvania State Representative John Payne (R – District 106) has introduced an online gaming expansion bill in the House of Representatives.  Payne’s bill, (HB 649) would only legalize online poker in Pennsylvania – not all forms of online gambling – although the legislation seems to leave the door for a more comprehensive approach.  The bill currently has 18 other cosponsors.
Not to be outdone, days later a new anti-online gambling bill (HB 1013) was introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, aiming to make all online betting illegal in the Commonwealth. Introduced by State Representative Thomas P. Murt (R – District 152), it is the polar opposite of Payne’s pro-online gambling bill.  Murt’s bill has the backing of Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson.
The unfortunate reality for proponents of legal igaming is that people tend to gravitate toward things that are simple to understand.  Bills that look to explicitly legalize online gaming (like Payne’s HB 649) are naturally complicated because of all the regulatory language they include, whereas bills that look to outlaw online gaming (like Murt’s HB 1013) tend to be incredibly simple. Murt’s bill states, in total, “the board shall not promulgate rules and regulations allowing any form of Internet gambling.”
Let’s hope the Keystone Republicans can get their act together and make some competent decisions on moving legal online gaming forward for the people of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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