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PENNSYLVANIA GAMING EXPANSION BILL HEARING POSTPONED
16th February, 2017 at 05:03:31
But the prospect of a joint House-Senate hearing offers hope.
Thursday's planned hearing of a new online gambling legalisation bill by the Pennsylvania House Gaming Oversight Committee has been postponed, but the good news is that it may well be replaced soon by a joint Senate-House committee hearing which could help progress the measure.
The bill in question is HB 392, authored by Rep. George Dunbar, which closely resembles last year's failed HB2150 and HB 1887, proposals that received strong House support last year but did not emerge from the Senate (see previous reports). The bill includes other gaming expansion plans besides online provisions, and will be needed to help address Pennsylvania's serious budget deficit.
The measure proposes a one-time fee of $8 million for an interactive gaming license, a $2 million licensing fee for each interactive gaming operator, a $250,000 renewal fee for interactive gaming licensees, and a $100,000 fee for interactive gaming operators.
Tax is likely to be an area of contention; Dunbar's bill proposes a 14% on GGR rate and a two% tax rate on gross gaming revenue for host communities, whilst Senators are known to favour a tougher range from 25% as high as 54 percent.
The Gaming Oversight Committee chairman in the House is also something of an unknown quantity. Rep. Scott Petri is the new chair, and is on record as having voted against HB2150-HB1887 last year in sharp contrast to predecessor John Payne, who was a strong advocate of online gambling legalisation. However, Dunbar's new bill reportedly already has strong support among House colleagues.
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