Key PA Lawmakers Involved In Online Poker Legislation Set To Retire

February 1, 2016

Two Pennsylvania lawmakers, both longtime proponents of online gambling, have announced their retirements. Assembly Gaming Oversight Committee Chairman John Payne and the GO’s Democratic Committee Chairman Nick Kotick have both decided not seek reelection.

On January 8, John Payne issued a press release announcing his retirement after completing seven two-year terms in office. Payne represented PA’s 106th district and has played a vital role in pushing ahead online gambling legislation. Just this summer Payne sponsored House Bill 649, which contained many gambling measures that decrease the laws restricting gambling within Pennsylvania.

Nick Kotick announced his retirement three days after Payne. Kotick served seven terms in the legislature and represented PA’s 45th district.

On January 11, Kotick made a statement announcing his departure:

“As I prepare for retirement from public service, I would be remiss if I didn’t first say ‘thank you’ to all the fine people of the 45th Legislative District. As I look forward to my retirement, I will look back with nothing but fondness on my time in the House of Representatives.

It is my hope that, even in the smallest form, I did my part to better shape the future of those I held the privilege to represent in the most humble of forms.”

How might the retirements affect PA iGaming legislation?

Though both retirements will have adverse impacts, Payne’s certainly has more impact on future outcomes. Payne’s sponsorship of pro-gambling legislation has been invaluable for Pennsylvania’s online gambling cause. He is also part of the Republican Party which holds the PA legislature’s house majority.

Many have voiced concerns about the future of Payne’s HB 649. If the bill doesn’t pass the vote this spring, it will decrease the likelihood of passing before the retirements of both Payne and Kotick at the end of the legislative term.

There is also a good chance that the constraint on their remaining time could make them push harder for the closure of any open-ended legislation.

In Payne’s announcement he made assurances that he will do his best at following through on any open initiatives he might have:

“There are still many initiatives I hope to see enacted, and I plan to stay active and continue to serve the citizens of the 106th District until my term ends on Nov. 30.”

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