Pennsylvania Senate approves internet gambling bill

May 25, 2017 9:37 AM

Legislation allowing casino-style gambling and lottery play online in Pennsylvania passed the state Senate on Wednesday. Lawmakers are seeking ways to raise cash to take financial pressure off of the Keystone State’s deficit-laden budget.

The bill would make Pennsylvania the first state to allow both its casinos and state lottery to take their games to online. It additionally would allow online gambling salons in airports, regulates and taxes online fantasy sports games and reactivates a requirement struck down by the courts last year that casinos pay millions of dollars in yearly host fees to local governments.

The Republican-controlled chamber voted 38-12 just 24 hours after the measure became public. 

Conjecture remains that such a bill will have more difficulty in the House where Republican majority leaders are seeking support for legislation to allow slot machine-style gambling in thousands of bars, truck stops and fraternal clubs. Such a provision is seen by proponents as the biggest cash source for the state, but is likely to be opposed by casinos, which fear losing gambling dollars in the deal.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, online casino gambling is legal only in Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey. Four other states, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky and Michigan, permit lottery games to be played via the internet.