PENNSYLVANIA POLITICIANS MAKE A CASE FOR LEGALISED ONLINE GAMBLING
28th May, 2015 at 11:11:09
Op-ed in state publication lays out the benefits of a regulatory regime.
Pennsylvania Representatives John Payne and Nick Kotik, strong supporters of legalised online gambling in their state, used the publication PennLive.com to lay out the benefits of online gambling legalisation in an op-ed piece this week.
The duo align the current situation in Pennsylvania with that which existed a decade ago, when the state allowed the introduction of land casino gambling to counter the outflow of local residents' money to casinos in neighbouring states, bringing no benefit to Pennsylvania.
Today, online gambling - legal or no - is occurring in the state, but the state is not reaping any rewards from it. That situation can be remedied with the approval of legalisation laws that bring with them licence fees and taxes on operators, better consumer protection, and the exclusion of illegal operators, they claim.
Rep. Payne, who is chairman of the state House Gaming Oversight Committee, has recently introduced legalisation measure HB649 and has been holding impartial hearings throughout the state on the issue (see previous reports).
The op-ed references a recent poll commissioned by Caesars Entertainment which shows well over half of state residents have no problem with strictly regulated and licensed online gambling. It additionally draws on the experiences of several states where land gaming executives have found that online gambling does not cannibalise the business of land casinos.
Taking all of these positive benefits into account, but most of all the safety of state consumers, it makes no sense to leave this potential source of jobs and revenues untapped and unregulated, the duo argue.
Read the full op-ed here: http://www.pennlive.com/opinion/2015/05/heres_why_pa_needs_to_legalize.html
In related news, a fourth legalisation bill is currently being lined up - this one in the Pennsylvania Senate - according to local reports.
Senator Sean Wiley is reportedly busy drafting the bill at present, but he has already commenced promoting it to fellow Senators with a memo that declares:
"In the near future, I will be introducing comprehensive legislation to move the Commonwealth's gaming industry forward.
"Since passage of Act 71 of 2004, the Race Horse Development and Gaming Act, the Commonwealth's gaming industry has been an overwhelming success. The addition of table games in 2010 further enhanced the industry. Legalized gaming has resulted in thousands of new jobs and billions in property tax relief and economic development throughout Pennsylvania."
Wiley is reportedly proposing that existing Pennsylvania land casino operators be allowed to offer online poker on payment of certain licensing fees and taxes.
He points out that it is also a safeguard against any federal attempts in Congress to broadly outlaw online gambling despite states' rights, as his measure would position Pennsylvania strongly to demand an exemption from any such ban.
Wiley has revealed that his target date for legalised online gambling in the state is the beginning of 2017, giving ample time for the requisite administrative framework and licensing and regulatory structures to be effective by the middle of that year.
His proposal is believed to carry a $500,000 licence fee and a tax rate of 36% on NGR.
A study commissioned by the Pennsylvania Legislature last year (see previous report) estimated that legalised online poker could be worth up to $129 million annually on maturation, whilst regulated online casino gaming could generate $178 million annually.
Related News Tags: Land Casinos