Pennsylvania Senate Introduces Online Poker Bill

A bill to allow regulated online poker in Pennsylvania has been introduced in the state Senate by Senators Edwin Erickson and Bob Mensch (l.). The bill would also allow the state to form compacts with other states to share players and may allow for online casino games.

A bill to allow online poker in Pennsylvania has been introduce to the state legislature. The bill is sponsored by state senators Edwin Erickson and Bob Mensch.

The bill also allows the state to enter into online poker compacts with other states.

“Developments in technology and recent legal decisions have created an opportunity to legalize interactive poker as a means to further enhance and complement the benefits delivered by casino gaming, licensed facilities and the communities in which they operate,” the bill states. “Authorized interactive gaming, once fully developed, will allow persons in this Commonwealth to participate in interactive poker, not only with other persons in this Commonwealth, but with persons in other cooperating United States jurisdictions where interactive poker has been authorized.”

However, a change in language of the bill—removing a line that says only poker games can be approved—may leave open the possibility that the state could later approve online casino games.

The bill also includes a “bad actor” clause that would block companies that accepted bets from Pennsylvania players after 2006, when a federal ban went into effect. Such clauses have blocked companies such as PokerStars, from entering the online gambling industry in several states.

Pennsylvania recently conducted a study that found the state could see revenues of $129 million annually through online gambling. The bill sets a tax rate of 14 percent on revenue.