Governor's Office Confirms PA Online Poker on His Radar Governor's Office Confirms PA Online Poker on His Radar
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Key Takeaways
  • Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro is monitoring a bill to support online poker.
  • HB 2078, introduced by Rep. George Dunbar, seeks state’s membership in a multi-state online gaming agreement.
  • The bill has bipartisan backing and is currently under review by the House Committee on Gaming Oversight.
  • Join our #GrowPApoker campaign to support multi-state online poker in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro is aware of a bill to request the state’s membership in a multi-state compact to support online poker and is keeping tabs on the legislation.

That’s according to Shapiro’s press secretary, who told pokerfuse that the Democratic governor is monitoring progress of HB 2078 as it moves through the General Assembly.

“At the moment, we will continue to review the proposal as it moves through the legislative process,” Manuel Bonder said Tuesday.

Bill Enjoys Early Bipartisan Support

HB 2078 was introduced earlier this month by Rep. George Dunbar (R-Jeannette). It calls for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) to request the state’s membership in the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA).

The bill is currently before the House Committee on Gaming Oversight. While the committee hasn’t scheduled any meetings so far for the current legislative session, there is still plenty of time for it to do so; the General Assembly doesn’t adjourn until at least November.

During the previous two-year legislative session, the committee held hearings in June, August, and September of 2022.

HB 2078 already enjoys bipartisan support, although Dunbar said in an interview on Poker Industry PRO that Democrats and Republicans typically cooperate on gaming legislation. Dunbar’s bill is no different — four GOP members and one Democrat co-sponsored his bill.

A New Advocacy Campaign: #GrowPApoker

Grow PA PokerPokerfuse is helping in the effort to bring multi-state online poker to Pennsylvania through a new advocacy campaign, represented by the hashtag #GrowPApoker.

Supporters are urged to post to social media, send an email, or write a letter to House Majority Leader Matthew Bradford (D-Cedars), encouraging him to support in the General Assembly. Similarly, social media posts, emails, and letters should be sent to Shapiro, urging him to sign HB 2078 into law when it reaches his desk.

It’s important to note that the bill, once it passes the General Assembly, could become law either with or without Shapiro’s signature. He will have a certain number of days to sign it, depending on whether the legislature is still in session or not, but after that it will become law automatically.

MSIGA Good for Players and PA

Membership in MSIGA is important for both players and the state alike.

It would allow the PA online poker operators in the state to combine their Pennsylvania player pools with those in other states within the compact — Delaware, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, and West Virginia.

That creates shared liquidity. For players, shared liquidity (and membership in MSIGA on the whole) means:

  • Bigger prize pools for tournaments
  • More poker games running when players want to play, not just during peak times
  • A greater selection of different types of poker games available (i.e. Omaha)

With more players and bigger prizes, there will be an added benefit — fewer players on illegal, offshore poker sites. That feeds into the benefits the state would enjoy from membership in the multi-state compact, including:

  • Increased consumer protections against fraud
  • More players would be covered by responsible gaming (RG) protections
  • Additional tax revenue