Matzie sports betting bill approved by committee

HARRISBURG, April 25 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, announced that his bill that would legalize sports betting in Pennsylvania's casinos and their licensed facilities was unanimously voted out of the House Gaming Oversight Committee this morning.


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.


New Jersey has been pursuing a legal challenge to the sports betting limitations.


In January, as part of an appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court invited the U.S. Solicitor General to file a brief on a legal challenge to the sports betting limitation that was raised by New Jersey. Matzie said the Solicitor General recently met with both sides and it is believed that the Supreme Court will follow the advice of the Solicitor General as to whether the case should proceed to the Supreme Court.


"Sports betting in the United States totals an estimated $400 billion per year with only one percent taking place in legal form," Matzie told the committee. "Major sports leagues that have traditionally opposed the legalization of sports betting – the NBA and MLB specifically – have expressed a willingness to take a fresh look at the issue. The NFL’s Raiders are moving to Las Vegas and the NHL’s Las Vegas Golden Knights will drop the puck next year.”


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.


“I believe our commonwealth is uniquely positioned to oversee sports betting in all its forms, and should be ready to take action should the federal ban be lifted,” Matzie said. “As evidenced by yet another record setting year of gaming revenues, our licensed facilities are thriving. Legalizing sports betting will simply enable Pennsylvanians to participate in – and our commonwealth to regulate – a multimillion dollar industry that already exists.”


The bill now moves to the full House for further consideration.