Pennsylvania has long been considered one of the most likely to states in the US to follow the blazing trails of Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey into the realm of regulated online gambling. State legislators have gone back and forth on the issue, but as a whole, have remained on the fence, choosing to take a ‘watch and wait’ approach to online poker and casino activities. The editorial board of one local newspaper, The Sentinel, finally decided to speak out on the matter.
The Sentinel’s editorial board has endorsed the legalization and regulation of online gambling in the Keystone State with an editorial labeled, “Our View: Seeking Opportunities Online”. The article referred to the expansion into online poker and casino games in the nearby states of Delaware and New Jersey, and encouraged Pennsylvania’s politicians to follow suit.
It’s no secret that Pennsylvania’s budget deficit needs attending to; something that the four-member editorial board was quick to point out. They view online gambling as a way to supplement some of the much-needed income in PA’s tax coffers, as well as curb the future decline of government resources. The editorial specifically cited last year’s study that was conducted by Econsult Solutions, upon request of the Pennsylvania legislature, which estimated the regulation of online gambling could bring in $113 million extra tax dollars each year.
The authors went on to extoll the success of Pennsylvania’s land-based gambling market. Just 8 years in the making, Pennsylvania was able to overtake New Jersey with the second largest yielding gambling industry in the United States; behind Nevada, of course. But just like in New Jersey, revenue has already started to slip.
The editorial board blamed this on gambling expansion in other nearby states; a statement that was derivative of Pennsylvania’s own officials. The PA Gaming Control Board was quoted as previously stating the decline in revenue is attributed to “increased competition”, and that “the next logical step is legalized online gambling”.
Gambling is, no doubt, a competition driven market, and if Pennsylvania’s competitors are taking to the internet to increase revenue, the editorial board believes that the Keystone State needs to essentially remove their hands from underneath their bottoms and join the iGaming movement.
“The circle is closing,” the editorial read. “New Jersey and Delaware have legalized online gambling and are expanding casinos; New York is on the edge of legislative approval for Internet play; Maryland is looking at a sixth casino and Ohio has been deliberately sidestepping enforcement of online gambling.”
Pennsylvania has already passed on a chance to regulate online poker and casino gambling per a bill introduced in April of 2013 by Rep. Tina Davis. While the bill got little support, it was the instigator behind the issuance of the aforementioned study performed in December of that year by Econsult Solutions. In February of 2014, Rep. Mario Scavello took things in the opposite direction when he attempted to introduce a bill to expressly prohibit online poker in the Keystone State, but that was quickly removed from the table. At this point, with more support than opposition and a leading local publication more than willing help spread the word, it does seem that online gambling will become a regulated and taxed resource for Pennsylvania, possibly as soon as 2015.