Read Mr. Berger’s profile on the Global Gaming Business Magazine website.
On June 22, 2016 the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed a sweeping expansion of gambling . The bill, which must be passed by the state’s Senate and signed by the Governor, would allow for internet based gambling, daily fantasy sports, slot machines at off-track betting parlors (“OTBs”), slot machines at airports and even paves the way for legalized sports betting, if, and when that is allowed under federal law.
- Pennsylvania would be the fourth state to allow legal internet gambling (Internet gambling is currently legal in New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada);
- Internet gambling would be offered through the Commonwealth’s current, licensed casinos with each casino paying an $8 million license fee to offer internet gaming;
- Age and geo-location controls will be required – players must open an account, be 21 or over and must be located within PA while participating in internet gambling;
- The tax rate on internet gambling revenue would total 16%;
- Participating casinos would not be allowed to reduce their number of slots machines their existing b casinos
Daily Fantasy Sports
- Bill allows current DFA operators like FanDuel and Draft Kings to obtain a license to offer DFS without partnering with a PA casino; DFS operators would pay 5% of its revenues ( after player payouts) to the state;
- DFS players must be 18 yo or older;
Slots at OTBs
- PA’s 5 racetrack casinos would each be permitted to have up to 4 off-track betting parlors with up to 250 slot machines per OTB;
- Each such OTB must be outside a 50 mile radius of an established PA casino;
- There is a $5 million licensee fee for each OTB with slots;
Slots at Airports
- Casinos can seek permission to install slot machines at airports; the PA Gaming Control Bd can set limits on the number of slot machines l allowed;
- License fees for such operations would be $5 million in Philadelphia; $2.5 million in Pittsburgh; and $1 million a each at the four other international airports in PA;
Expansion of Current Resort Casinos
- Current Category III casinos in PA can expand their max slot machines counts from 600 to 850 and table games from 50 to 65;
- There is also a relaxation in the requirement that casino patrons be customers of other amenities;
- If a current Category III casino and all three changes it so would requires $4.5 million is additional license fees.
- The bill instructs the PA Gaming Control Bd to develop regulations to allow for sports wagering if, and when the federal government permits such sport betting
New Jersey’s Gaming regulators garnered attention this week by issuing a press release that they are accepting applications for skill-based games for play in New Jersey’s casinos. This was a friendly reminder to the industry of two things: (1) that the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement’s current regulations already allow for skill-based elements in slot machines; and (2) the Division’s “New Jersey first” policy, whereby gaming products that are submitted for testing to New Jersey prior to, or simultaneously with, any other jurisdiction or testing lab, if approved, can be on the casino floor within 14 days.
Duane Morris special counsel Chris Soriano of the firm’s Cherry Hill office wrote “California, Regulated I-Gaming and the Tribal Question,” which was published in the March 2014 issue of World Online Gambling Law Report.
The California Legislature is currently considering two bills – AB2291 and SB1366 – to legalise online poker in the state. California Senator Lou Correa and Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer Sr., introduced legislation that would authorise online poker in the state and permit Indian tribes with gambling rights to obtain licences. Mr. Soriano sheds light on the situation in California and discusses the credentials of both bills.
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Internet gambling is currently legal and operating in three, U.S. States – Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware. Additional states, perhaps realizing that the likelihood of federal legislation on the topic anytime soon is remote, considered their own internet gambling legislation this past year. Proposals for new, or expanded internet gambling have, or will likely be considered by California, Colorado, Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
On June 18, 2012, the New Jersey State Assembly’s Appropriations Committee moved forward a bill that would authorize internet gaming at Atlantic City casinos. The bill, which has been making its way through various committees in the State legislature, provides that all authorized casino games, including poker, may be offered through internet gaming, to players within New Jersey. So as to comport with the recent U.S. Department of Justice opinion and the federal Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, the N.J. bill provides that to participate in internet gaming, a player must be physically present in New Jersey whenever a wager is placed, The bill does, however, provide that should the N.J. Division of Gaming Enforcement determine that wagers may be accepted from players outside of New Jersey, the legislation will allow such wagers. This provision gives the legislation the flexibility to expand the potential player base should there be a change in current federal law which currently would limit prospective internet wagering to intra-state based wagering.
Monday morning Philadelphia Police culminated a several month investigation by raiding a South Philadelphia storefront and seizing 30-40 computers and equipment. Both myfoxphilly.com, http://www.myfoxphilly.com/dpp/news/local_news/Internet_Sweepstakes_Cafe_Raid_South_Philadelphia_052112 and 6abc.com, http://www.myfoxphilly.com/dpp/news/local_news/Internet_Sweepstakes_Cafe_Raid_South_Philadelphia_052112 reported on the law enforcement activity at the parlor suspected of housing an illegal online gambling operation. The location had been the recent subject of an article earlier this month in the national publication, The Daily, http://www.thedaily.com/page/2012/05/13/051312-biz-sweepstakes-cafes-kelley-1-4/ , GAMBLING ON A LOOPHOLE, which quoted Duane Morris’ J. Scott Kramer
The New Jersey Legislature took another step towards legalizing online gaming in New Jersey. On May 10, 2012, the New Jersey Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee introduced amendments to the prospective internet gaming legislation which was recently passed by a State Senate committee. The amendments provide additional clarity with respect to the licensing of prospective internet gaming service providers. The proposal also increases the tax rate on internet gaming revenue and provides additional safeguards to keep out dubious internet gaming companies that have facilitated what the U.S. government considers to be illegal wagering from U.S. residents.
The Wall Street Journal reported on April 25, 2012, that U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, (D) Nevada, and Sen. Jon Kyl, (R)-Arizona. are preparing legislation which would legalize online poker but outlaw many other forms of online gambling, including the type of internet wagering currently being contemplated by states such as New Jersey, Nevada and California.
The Journal reported that the federal legislation being drafted is “rattling state governments, even though few details have been made public.” The draft legislation purportedly would not only create a federally controlled internet based wagering system for online poker, but it will prohibit individual states from allowing many other forms of online gambling.
The recent New Jersey internet wagering legislation, co-sponsored by N.J. State Senators Lezniak and Whelan, appears to have momentum. The buzz throughout the state capital is that some version of the legislation will be passed soon, perhaps as early as June. As with a similar internet wagering bill that passed the New Jersey Legislature last year prior to being vetoed by the Governor, only Atlantic City casinos will be permitted to offer gamblers the ability to wager of the internet.