Online gambling industry monitors will be watching Pennsylvania House proceedings closely today (Wednesday) to see whether the political leadership will once again present Rep. John Payne’s HB649 online gambling legalisation bill along with a daily fantasy sports bill that has also passed committee stage and is set for a second reading.
Given that daily fantasy sports bills appear to appeal to legislators, Rep. George Dunbar’s HB2150 looks like a good bet for progress, and Payne is hopeful that his HB649 will be scheduled to ride along with it.
If that happens, the two bills could be voted on as a package as early as this Thursday.
But as Payne pointed out earlier this week, once the bill has left his committee it is up to House leaders to control and decide progress.
Our readers will recall that a vote on Payne’s bill was postponed after House leadership mishandled the legislation two months ago and confused lawmakers, resulting in the bill failing on a 107 to 81 vote.
Payne immediately requested that the measure be reconsidered, and this motion was granted (see previous reports).
This is likely to be Rep. Payne’s last shot at getting the bill through. A tireless advocate for intrastate online gambling legalisation in Pennsylvania for the past several years, the 65-year-old veteran politician retires November 3 after the current Legislative session, which will come to a close once the state budget for Fiscal 2016-17 (starting July 1) has been finalised.
One of Payne’s arguments for licensed and regulated online gambling is that it will generate tax revenues.
Payne is hoping that increased momentum toward legalised online gambling in other states will translate to positive action in Pennsylvania.
In related news, California politicians will once again get to grips with the legalisation of online poker when the Californian Assembly Appropriations Committee reconvenes Wednesday morning to discuss yet again Assemblyman Adam Gray’s AB 2863 bill and the plethora of amendments that have been suggested.
At present there is little sign of agreement or compromise in the positions taken by the various vested interests, especially at tribal level.