The Fate of Online Gambling in Pennsylvania to Be Discussed in May

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Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee is working on a special report about online gambling prospects.

American gambling industry is gearing up to read the internet gambling legalization report carried out by the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee. The report on online casinos in United States and other forms of internet gambling is due in May. It’s expected to put the issue of legalization back into the spotlight and spark a new round of talks and arguments.

The investigation of the matter by the Committee was approved by the state Senate and the Senate President Joe Scarnati last November. The Committee was tasked with thorough analysis of how online gambling can impact state tax revenues, and if there’s a possibility of an impact on employment at existing land-based gambling destinations.

What prompted the report

There are 12 casinos in Pennsylvania, which employ over 16,000 people and have generated around $6 billion in tax money since 2004. Economic downturn and other factors lead to decrease in casino taxes, making the state look to other sources for tax revenues.

Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey have already altered American gambling laws to allow online gambling in their states. But in the case of Pennsylvania there are facts and figures, which can swing the legalization decision in either way.

Lawmakers and the report

Once the report is out, it will be examined by both sides of the camp: supporters and opponents of online gambling. Currently, the state has weak support for the online gaming legalization, since the Tina Davis bill made little progress in the House.

Pennsylvania awaits report on online gambling

• American gambling laws in the state can change allowing online gambling

• A report a special committee will shed more light on the issue

• Currently there’s little interest among lawmakers to legalize internet gambling

Opposing Davis’ suggestions is an amendment looking to ban any online gambling in the state, a bill introduced by Paul Clymer. It comes with some hard penalties, but it also failed to generate much interest in the House.

Republicans show little or no interest in legalizing online gaming. The spokesman for House Republican Party, has been recently quoted by American gambling news: “I’m not sure there’s a whole lot of support in our caucus right now for it.”

Moreover, Governor Jim Corbett himself is also not very enthusiastic about online gambling legalization. He’s looking at other sources to increase tax revenue. One of them is expanding state lottery. Governor’s spokesman, Jay Pagni, opined that there’s little or no interest in taking lottery offerings online.

He said: “The governor would be reluctant to have wholesale expansion of online gaming, or even something like online poker. Online gaming presents issues associated with access. The governor’s goal, when he announced small games, was, ‘We need to look at this in a measured fashion and ensure that safeguards are in place.'”

Pagni also added that the Governor will surely review the anticipated committee report before moving on to making any decisions on gambling regulation changes.

Other views

Elder Vogel, Republican Senator, said he’s interested in “…serious discussions about online gambling” provided that Senate leaders want to sit down and do it. However, in case the report finds it could be a good revenue source, he would probably support the move. He said: “Obviously other states around us are doing it so we need to keep up with the Joneses, so to speak.”

Those lawmakers who are currently against the move to legalize online gambling in the state are mostly worried about societal problems. These issues could arise from the convenience, which online gambling will provide: delivering gambling opportunities to the State citizens’ doorsteps.

But some of the opponents opine that if gambling, be that online or mobile, is here to stay the state and the citizens are better off with an industry with is controlled and regulated by the state.

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