Pennsylvania Representatives Want To See Legalization of iGaming

Nick KotikThe closest state to actually passing legislation to allow online gaming to take place seems to be Pennsylvania. With several measures on the table and invested parties showing great interest, it seems as if it will only be a matter of time before the state will legalize and regulate online poker and casino gaming. Two legislators have thrown themselves into the mix, creating legislation and writing articles to try and show just why Pennsylvania needs to become involved.

Representative John Payne and Nick Kotik are co-sponsors of one of the active bills within the state and recently wrote an article to show just why the state needs to legalize and regulate online gambling. Payne is over the House Consumer Affairs Committee while Kotik is the ranking Democrat of the committee. Their bill, HB649, seems to be on track to move forward.

In their op-ed, the representatives wanted to show why Pennsylvania needs to legalize online gambling. The piece was published by PennLive and has a basis that it makes no sense to leave online gaming unregulated in the state while income is lost and players are left unprotected.

Both reps explain their feelings with the example of brick and mortar casinos. Back in 2004, the state had decided to allow casinos and thus being able to stay in competition with neighboring states. Before casinos were allowed in the state, residents were traveling to neighboring states, spending their money not in Pennsylvania.

It was pointed out that the same can be said for online gaming. The activity is taking place in the state and without regulation, Pennsylvania is losing out on millions of dollars as well as keeping their residents from the protection they rightfully deserve.

An additional key area in the state is revenues. The current budget deficit of the state is $2 billion which could be helped by allowing online gambling. To help deal with a budget shortfall, changes could be made to allow such gaming activities to bring in additional funds that are needed. It is believed that iGaming would bring in around $120 million for the state within the first year.

It is smart to point out that even though there may be a prohibition on online gaming such as poker, it is still taking place. Anyone who wants to play can. By creating a safe environment within the state, players have the option to play in a comfortable manner, knowing their funds are secure.

In the op-ed, the representatives pointed out that online gaming is working in states that have regulation such as New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada. The states have shown that their approach is working and the technology used for safeguards is helping to protect individuals who take part. New Jersey has shown significant growth including an increase in gaming revenues in just a few months’ time frame.

Pennsylvanians are all for the option to enjoy online gaming, in a regulated environment. A recent poll conducted by Caesars Entertainment shows that over 50% of those polled want online gaming to be strictly regulated for a save environment. Over 60 would like to see gaming revenues taxed and the proceeds used for state programs that are vital for residents. Casinos are also in favor of such gaming and want to be involved. Some land based casinos are not in favor but for the most part, the majority want to be able to become involved in the online gaming industry.

All things are setting up Pennsylvania to be the next state to legalize and regulate online gaming. It will be interesting to see if the state actually moves forward and legalizes legislation in the near future.