It is now a week since the United States Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) and a number of states are already gearing up for a legalized sports betting future. While awaiting the federal legalization of the activity, Governor Tom Wolf signed a law that will deal with the regulation of sports betting in the Keystone state. All that remains is for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board staff to write the actual regulations that will then have to be approved by the agency’s seven-member board.
So, far, the only details available point to the 36 percent tax rate that will be imposed on sports betting once it kicks off. The board, however, did not specify an actual timeline for the debut of sports betting in Pennsylvania and instead gave the following statement:
“The Gaming Expansion legislation, Act 42 of 2017, did specifically authorize Sports Wagering by the Commonwealth’s land-based casinos when a Federal court decision was reached that permits a state to regulate sports wagering. The Board is reviewing the court opinion in its entirety to properly understand the full opinion.
The Pennsylvania legislature saw Sports Wagering as a key element of overall gaming expansion and took the initiative prior to this decision to authorize Sports Wagering which does provide some guidelines on implementation. The next step for Pennsylvania would be for our staff to draft appropriate regulations and seek approval of those regulations by the Board. At this time, we cannot provide a timetable for the completion and approval of these regulations or the launch of Sports Wagering in Pennsylvania.”
Even though the fact that the state’s sports betting will come sooner than in other states, which is good for the interested operators, a number of them have raised complaints pertaining to the 36 percent tax rate – it is rather high especially when compared to the tax rates in other state, such as West Virginia (10 percent). The state’s lawmakers and the regulators seem to be unfaltering to these concerns but there is still room for liberation and we might eventually see the two opposing sides agree on something soon.