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Proposed Bill Would Authorize Sports Betting In Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - A Pittsburgh area lawmaker is looking to expand Pennsylvania's gaming industry, by legalizing betting on sporting events.

State Rep. Rob Matzie introduced legislation Tuesday to allow sports betting in all licensed casinos in Pennsylvania. Those include the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, The Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Washington County and the Lady Luck Casino at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Fayette County.

"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."

Those hurdles are on the federal level. Matzie's office says current law only allows sports betting in Nevada, Oregon, Delaware and Montana.

"It would be available to current slots licensees. There would be a $5 million fee, 16 percent gross revenue to the general fund. Legalizing sports betting will simply enable Pennsylvania to regulate a multimillion dollar industry that already exists," Matzie said.

There are signs President Donald Trump is open to the idea of making sports betting legal nationwide.

"We wouldn't do it lightly," Trump said in an interview with Westwood One Radio on Super Bowl Sunday. "It will be studied very carefully. But I would want to have a lot of input from a lot of different people."

President Trump also said he would want input from the commissioners of major sports leagues. Some are already softening their stance on sports betting.

"We are reexamining our stance on gambling," Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said at the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit last week. "It's a conversation that's ongoing with the owners."

The bill introduced by State Rep. Matzie is expected to be assigned to the House Gaming Oversight Committee for further consideration.

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