Pennsylvania may become the fourth state in the US to legalize online gambling, but like any typical movie, the antagonist enters the picture and makes the plot more interesting.
From early this year until this month, three house bills have been filed in the Keystone State, urging legislators to legalize various kinds of online gambling. HB 649, HB 695, and HB 920 all call for online poker and casino activities to be disregarded as illegal or a crime in the state.
Last Monday, however, the fourth bill was filed. This time, though, it aims to ban all forms of online gambling within the state’s jurisdiction, and this includes the use of Bitcoin and other virtual currencies.
According to HB 1013 filed by Rep. Thomas Murt and other seven co-sponsors:
“No individual or entity shall solicit, invite, collect or accept cash or any other form of currency through the Internet for the purposes of wagering or betting. No individual or entity shall organize, or cause to be organized, any type of gambling event that is held over the Internet.”
It also details the sanctions violators will receive, namely a $300 fine for the first offense, a $600 fine and three-day imprisonment for the second offense, and a $2,000 fine and up to one-year imprisonment for the third offense.
Inclusion of virtual currencies reaffirms Bitcoin gambling market
While the proposed legislation will hinder the use of Bitcoin in Internet gambling-related activities, this presents Bitcoin gambling in a new light.
It is high time for the mainstream market to recognize the big potential for this niche to become a thriving market on its own, and not just an alternative, as the Bitcoin casinos, poker rooms, sportsbooks, and other cryptocurrency gambling sites emerge in the iGaming industry.
Popular Bitcoin gambling sites accepting US players like Anonibet, Bitstarz, and PrimeDice have a large customer base globally while other Bitcoin casinos and betting platforms are also making waves across the US.
Although the use of Bitcoin for online gambling purposes is technically legal in the US, Pennsylvania’s positive behavior towards the legalization of Internet gambling will serve as another channel for the promotion of the digital currency.
Unfortunately, how the state will treat online gambling operators is yet to be known, given that the three proposed bills forward different conditions.
Keystone State to overtake California’s bid
With the progress that has taken place in Pennsylvania, several analysts believe it will likely become the next state to give online gambling the green light, overtaking California.
California, which is also geared to become a friendlier state for Internet poker operators, sets itself apart, though, by creating the ideal setting for legal Bitcoin gambling with its pro-Bitcoin rules.
Despite the possibilities that the West Coast state will take longer in legalizing the said online activity, the passage of the bills, however, will provide easier ways for Bitcoin poker sites to reach a wider market in the US.
Therefore, Americas Cardroom, which only recently accepted Bitcoin deposits, will be joined by other names on the Bitcoin poker market like SwCPoker.eu, GetLuckyPoker, and BurnTurn Poker to provide the locals with innovative and fresh online poker experiences.
Meanwhile, Pennsylvania is still poised to push through with its legalization of online gambling despite the opposition’s efforts and the existence of the HB 1013, but whether it will legally favor Bitcoin gambling remains a question.