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Pennsylvania online gambling bill no longer poker-only; Illinois online lotto seeks permanence

TAGs: hb 649, Illinois, Illinois Lottery, john payne, Lottery, Pennsylvania

john-payne-john-kerry-online-gambling-billPennsylvania’s new online gambling legislation is no longer poker-only after a revised draft was posted to the state House of Representatives’ website.

HB 649 was originally touted by Rep. John Payne (pictured on the left) as authorizing online poker and casino games, yet when the actual text of the bill surfaced last week, its definition of ‘authorized games’ was limited to “any interactive poker game approved by the [Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board}.”

HB 649’s latest version defines authorized games as “any interactive game approved by the board under this chapter” while interactive games are defined as “any gambling game offered through the use of communications technology.”

Tune in tomorrow, when HB 649’s definition of interactive game is redefined as referring only to Pong, Tetris and e-Mumblety-peg, while the definition of ‘John Payne’ is changed to John ‘Flip-Flop’ Kerry.

A little further west in Illinois, state Rep. Ed Sullivan has filed legislation that would make the state’s online lottery a permanent program. This month marks three years since the Illinois Lottery became the first in the nation to offer online ticket sales, but the digital site was part of a pilot program scheduled to last no more than 48 months. Sullivan’s HB 3870 would amend the Illinois Lottery Law to enshrine the online sales as a permanent fixture.

Illinois’ online lottery is currently facing a more imminent threat than the expiration of that 48-month timeline. The federal Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) legislation currently making its way through Congress would prohibit all online gambling except for horseracing and fantasy sports, although suggestions have been made that state lotteries are quietly negotiating with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to obtain a carveout for their online operations. A House Judiciary subcommittee has scheduled a RAWA hearing for Thursday (5) at 9:30am ET.

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