Matzie introduces bill to authorize sports betting in Pa.

HARRISBURG, Feb. 14 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, today introduced legislation that would legalize sports betting in Pennsylvania's casinos and their licensed facilities.


House Bill 519 would clear a legal path to allow sports betting in all of Pennsylvania's licensed casinos as soon as it is permitted under federal law. Current law only permits sports betting in Nevada, Oregon, Delaware and Montana.


"Sports betting is a $400 billion business in the United States," Matzie said. "Most of that betting takes place illegally, through bookies and off-shore wagering companies. This bill would position Pennsylvania's casinos to be among the leaders in sports betting as soon as the legal hurdles are removed."


Most recently, New Jersey has tried to legalize sports betting. Although their initial attempts were denied, New Jersey’s final appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was postponed as the Court announced that it would wait until the new U.S. Solicitor General was confirmed to weigh in on the issue. “This is encouraging, given that President Trump has addressed his stance on the sports betting industry – and his support for legalization – on at least two occasions.”


There are currently 12 licensed casinos in Pennsylvania, including four in Western Pennsylvania: Rivers Casino in Allegheny County; The Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Washington County; Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin in Fayette County and Presque Isle Downs in Erie County.


“Our Commonwealth is uniquely positioned to oversee sports betting in all its forms,” said Matzie. “We should be ready to act should the federal ban be lifted. Legalizing sports betting will simply enable Pennsylvania to regulate a multimillion dollar industry that already exists.”


The bill is expected to be assigned to the House Gaming Oversight Committee for further consideration.