The Pennsylvania House Gaming Oversight Committee is expected to vote on a bill that would legalize online poker in the state. The vote is expected to take place later today or on Wednesday according to Poker Player Alliance Executive Director John Pappas.
Republican State Representative John Payne, Chairman of the Gaming Oversight Committee, introduced HB 649 earlier this year and has been pushing to legalize online gaming in Pennsylvania as a means to bridge a gap in the state budget and protect consumers from unscrupulous offshore operators.
Payne also believes legalizing online poker could prevent money from the people of Pennsylvania from funding ISIS.
Several hearings to discuss online gaming in the state have been postponed recently without explanation. The fact that Payne is expected to bring his bill up for a committee vote seems to indicate that he believes it has enough support to pass.
A favorable outcome would move the bill to the House floor for a vote. If it passes a full House vote, it would proceed on to the Senate where a favorable vote would put the bill in front of Governor Tom Wolf to sign into law.
Pennsylvania is also in the midst of a budget crisis that could spell good news for online poker players. For nearly five months legislators have been unable to present the governor with an acceptable budget proposal. And while the stalemate continues, online gaming has been bandied about as a possible component of a compromise.