Pennsylvania Rep Says Delay in iGambling Legislation Already Hurting State

The state of Pennsylvania was one that online poker players felt would offer real money gaming options this year. The state has seen legislation move forward only to stall and efforts to see online poker and casino gaming come to fruition in the state have come to an end. There were several developments to the positive for the state this year in regards to iGaming but in the end, none of the bills were passed into law that included online gambling.

For 2017, the state is still a leading contender to pass legislation. However, one representative for Pennsylvania has made comments in regards to gaming, stating that Pennsylvania has already been hurt by the delay in passing legislation. Representative Rosita Youngblood spoke with Online Poker Report discussing what happened this year and what is to come for the New Year.

Senator Tomlinson of Pennsylvania has decided that he feels online gaming should be approached cautiously. Youngblood was asked her feelings on this subject by Online Poker Report and stated that a lot of what the senator had to say in his letter to the House, which said online poker and casino gaming should be approached slowly, was actually inaccurate. Representative Youngblood has been involved in the online gambling debate for six years now and has seen the House consider gaming over the past two years, and not in a rushed manner. The House has worked to gather as much information as possible to be able to learn the pros and cons of such gaming options. According to Youngblood, research shows that regulating the industry would have no negative affect on casinos and actually enhance their gaming operations.

Representative Youngblood was also asked about the overall mood for online gambling as well as outlook for 2017 and she responded that she honestly felt that the Senate would act on the gaming reforms that had been passed in the House twice last year, in 2016. She particularly felt that the bill that included the local gaming tax issue would have been passed. Youngblood feels that the roadblocks for online poker and casino gaming in the state lies within the Senate.

Anyone who has been following Pennsylvania’s online gambling process knows that the state made great strides this year by including online gaming in the state budget. The state expects to receive $100 million to help with budget costs. However, no money will be received until legislation is put in place along with regulations for online poker and casino gaming.

When asked about the $100 million and what would happen if the state does not pass legislation, Youngblood responded that the shortfall will actually be much higher than $100 million. The state has already missed the opportunity to gain tax revenues from online gaming plus the additional resources provided for problem gambling as well as compulsive gambling. Youngblood also believes that the state missed out on being able to be a leader in the regulated gaming industry.

If Pennsylvania is unable to pass legislation in 2017 and get the ball rolling, there will be several issues. To begin, the state will not have the money needed to meet the budget. The state will also fall behind as others work to pass legislation and begin to offer online poker and casino gaming in their state. Pennsylvania is already a leader when it comes to land based gaming but could easily fall behind if several states begin to offer online gaming, which would push their gaming industries to the forefront.

For now, all eyes will be on Pennsylvania and what they plan to do in 2017 when it comes to online poker and casino gaming legislation.