Pennsylvania Online Gambling Bill Waits on House Gurney for Possible Resuscitation

Posted on: May 25, 2016, 05:22h. 

Last updated on: May 25, 2016, 05:57h.

The Pennsylvania online gambling bid was killed in the State House of Representatives yesterday, before being quickly resuscitated and plugged into a life support machine.

Pennsylvania online gambling bill still in the ring
Feeling the Payne: Pennsylvania Representative John Payne’s online poker push has been derailed by a huge clerical blunder, but this “rocky” measure is still hanging on. (Image:

Two proposed amendments to the state’s gambling laws that would authorize Internet gaming were voted down on the House floor by lawmakers, who then strangely voted overwhelmingly for their reconsideration.

What this means is that online gaming still has a chance of being passed by the House, from where it would be sent for a vote on the Senate floor, and from there to the desk of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf (D), the crazy budget guy.

Its chances of success in this regard are quite difficult to gauge, considering that the result of yesterday’s vote was apparently skewed by a somewhat embarrassing clerical error.

House of Payne 

Up for consideration were amendments A7622 and A7619. The latter was essentially a mirror of State Representative John Payne’s online gambling bill, HB 649, introduced in February 2015, which sought to regulate online casino gaming and poker.

This was unburdened by any video gaming terminal (VGT) legislation, which, as we reported several days ago, was looking to attach itself to online gambling legislation in an effort to muscle its way through the legislature.

The motion to expand VGT gambling into airports and off-track betting parlors, while having a modicum of support in the House, is controversial enough to kill the bill, online gambling and all, if it were to be partnered with Payne’s legislation.

And A7622 was exactly that: a facsimile of the Payne bill, but with the addition of the controversial VGT expansion measures thrown in. And it was first up to vote.

Problem was, while it was not supported by Payne, it had his name on it, albeit completely by mistake.

 Naysayers Win Out

The amendment was actually authored by Representative Mark Mustio, and Payne naturally voted against it, as did many of its supporters, who believed it to be the Payne amendment.

Then, once the shocking realization of the error set in, they hurriedly set about voting against the Payne amendment in the hopes of forcing a reconsideration of both bills on the grounds that this was all a bit of a tragedy of errors.

The VGT amendment was defeated by 122 votes to 66, while the Payne amendment by the narrower margin of 107 to 81. But considering that some of the VGT supporters may well have also voted for the Payne amendment had they not realized their mistake, there’s still a slim chance it could be passed.

It may be an underdog, but hopefully, like that other great Pennsylvania underdog Rocky Balboa, it can take a few punches and just keep getting back up, till it finally wins.

After all, it ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you get hit and keep moving forward. At least that’s what Burgess Meredith would have told Payne, and his bill is still in the ring, if a tad bloodied.