A bill that would legalize online gambling in Pennsylvania is making its way through the legislative process, but is still a long way from becoming a Keystone State law.

Earlier this week, the Pennsylvania House Gaming Oversight Committee approved HB 649, which paves the way for regulated online gambling; airport slot machines; and 24 hour liquor at land-based casinos.

Now that it’s moved out of committee, HB 649 will make its way to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for a full vote.

Should the House pass it, it would then move on to the Senate for a full vote and, possibly, a few changes. Should the Senate change any part of the bill, it would head back to the House and the whole process starts over.

There’s also a possibility that the measure could be fast-tracked as part of the state’s annual budget, but that seems less likely and is definitely the less attractive option for the gambling industry. As of this writing, the state’s budget is nearly four months overdue.

Supporters of the bill, including the Poker Player’s Alliance (PPA) cheered the bill while downplaying its potentially long journey towards becoming law. In a statement to the press, PPA President John Pappas lauded the measure saying:

The PPA thanks Chairman John Payne and the Committee for their leadership. Now this bill needs to become law. The safety of consumers and the fiscal health of Pennsylvania will be vastly improved when Internet gaming is appropriately licensed, regulated and taxed. It is our hope that the legislation will be enacted on its own or as part of the state’s 2016 budget by the end of this year.

If approved, HB 649 would make Pennsylvania the fourth state to legalize online gambling.


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