Hopes Renewed for Pennsylvania Online Wagering as New Bill is Said to be Drafted
After a gambling measure put forward by Pennsylvania State Representative Tina Davis (D-Bucks County) was shelved earlier this month after a committee chair overseeing the bill decided to stall it until at least 2015, hopes for passage of regulated online gambling in the Keystone State dimmed considerably.
Now, a new bill is said to be drafted that could bring legalized online wagering to Pennsylvania sooner, according to reports that surfaced late this week.
Committee head wanted to wait and see
The committeewoman who put the brakes on the previous bill, State Representative Tina Pickett, was taking a cautious approach to the introduction of online gaming in Pennsylvania, remarking earlier this month that she preferred to wait and see what, if any, effect there was on the land-based casino industry in neighboring New Jersey, which plans to roll out real-money online gambling web sites later on this fall.
Critics of online gambling as well as regional chambers of commerce have publicly questioned the soundness of aggressively expanding both land-based and casino gambling. Many posit that in offering Internet-based wagering, gamblers may cease to visit their brick-and-mortar counterparts, thus only serving to further drain what is an already-depressed casino industry in many regions of the east coast. Several properties in the northeast have reported declining or flat revenue, a situation that could be exacerbated when online gambling goes live later this year.
By contrast, there are others who believe that Internet gambling will only serve to strengthen the gambling market. Many pundits have lauded online gambling’s potential to lure younger, more technologically savvy new gamblers to the market, which will benefit not only licensed operators, but also state and local governments by increasing tax revenue.
New bill said to be “making the rounds”
While no text has yet been made public, the new bill, which is said to be sponsored by Pennsylvania’s casino industry, is reportedly “making the rounds” in the Pennsylvania statehouse. Pennsylvania currently has eleven land-based casino properties, and gambling revenue there continues to rise.
Incidentally, it is Pennsylvania’s gambling success that may have led to New Jersey becoming the third state in the nation to legalize online betting. The Atlantic City casino industry is anything but thriving, having experienced a revenue decline every year for the past six years. Many attribute Atlantic City’s struggles to competition from Pennsylvania, where newer casino properties have proven successful at luring patrons away from New Jersey’s iconic gambling town.
Check back with us as we continue to update this story.
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