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Online Gambling News From Pennsylvania, Iowa and Hawaii

By: Fabian Rictor, Monday March 11th 2013
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In Pennsylvania, legislator Tina Davis is in the process of launching an online gambling legalization bill. In her proposal as initially formulated the licensing fee was set at $16.5 million and the tax rate at an exorbitant 45%. The bill is due to be presented next week. Some last minute rethinking has been done and both these parameters have been slashed. The licensing fee now stands at $10 million, and the tax rate at 20%. This was apparently done to mitigate a section of the opposition. There is no place for interstate compacts in the bill. This is to protect the flourishing land gambling business in the state, which is second only to Nevada. The land casino operators also have another advantage. Online gambling licenses can be issued only to existing slot machine and table-game licensees in the state. The bill is expected to hit rough weather immediately when it opens before the House Gaming Oversight Committee. The Republicans control the House in Pennsylvania and they are against online gambling. Republican Representative Paul Clymer has stated his intent of launching a counter-proposal specifically outlawing online gambling in Pennsylvania.

In Iowa online gambling supporters suffered their third successive defeat. Senator Jeff Danielson’s bill crashed once again. Earlier, a Senate subcommittee had moved the bill forward to the Senate State Government Committee on a vote of 2-1. The bill died in the committee. The reason was that the legislators preferred to debate better supported or more urgent legislation and had no time for bills like the online gambling one. Wes Ehrecke, president of the Iowa Gaming Association, which represents the state’s 18 commercial casinos, supported the bill. He pointed to the developments in Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware and to the fact that many Iowans already gambled at offshore online casinos. However, the Republican chairman of the House State Government Committee, Guy Vander Linden, was lukewarm on the proposal. A recent Iowa poll commissioned by the Des Moines Register newspaper reported that 73% of respondents opposed online gambling.

The state of Hawaii has also been unsuccessfully attempting legalizing online gambling. The latest initiative was launched in January this year. However, the measure has made little progress and is likely to fail. A public hearing for the legislation was to be held last month, but it was removed from the schedule according to poker publication Card Player. Card Player quoted sources in the Hawaii Senate that though the bill had not been officially killed, there would be no further action on it. Hawaii is one of only two US states that has no legalized gambling of any kind.

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