At one time, casino gambling was considered something that would never, ever come to the Keystone State of Pennsylvania. Time and opinions do change. Fiscal concerns, of course, factor into various aspects of decision making as well. In recent years, brick and mortar casinos opened up in the state of Pennsylvania. Neighboring New Jersey has felt the pinch since fewer people are traveling to Atlantic City as a result. In New Jersey, a limited amount of online gambling has been approved. Perhaps this will bode another change in PA. Apparently, Pennsylvania lawmakers and lobbyists are seriously thinking about legalizing online gambling in the state. No, the deal is not done yet. No agreements or decisions are even remotely close to occurring.
What is finally stirring up the legislatures in Pennsylvania to finally begin discussions on the subject of online gambling? Not surprisingly, it is concerns over the state’s budget. Budget discussions in Pennsylvania have not gone well. Democrats and Republicans are not seeing eye to eye, which should be expected. The inability to come to agreements on the budget have the looking at an alternate means of generating revenue for the state. Yes, this would be the legalization of online gambling.
The gambling industry is a business venture. This means gambling generates revenue and revenue generates taxes. State tax revenue would help the Pennsylvania government cover a lot of its budgetary requirements. Expanding internet gambling in the state would also open up a host of jobs. A lot people have to come together to make internet gambling work. Marketing, promotions, accounting, designing, and various other supporting tasks to be done in order to succeed. Those hired to fill various other jobs end up paying taxes in Pennsylvania as well.
Of course, the real money is going to come from the taxes on the gaming institutions that offer online wagering. Furthermore, revenue ends up being generated by any licenses required to run an online gaming business in the state.
Recently, the governor of Pennsylvania tried to raise taxes in the state but the increase could not pass the legislature. Based on the current landscape of the legislature, the tax increase is not likely to happen in the near future. Due to the need for additional revenue in the state, the topic of conversation in the legislature is the legalization of online gambling. The potential revenue streams from online gambling are difficult to ignore.
The budget deficit for the state is in the range of $1.2 billion. The infusion of money from internet gambling tax revenue could end up cutting down that deficit significantly. The legislature had an open discussion about legalizing internet gambling occurred in June of 2015. Things went nowhere though as a great many stumbling blocks emerged.
The issues that made it difficult for internet gambling to pass the legislature were disagreements on how much tax to levy against the gambling industry. Also, the means in which the tax would be collected were not agreed upon either. Everything stalled as a result. Since the budget deadline has passed, discussions about the legalization of internet gambling has returned. Since the state needs the money, this is not a surprise.
Internet gambling is not exactly widely popular across the United States. Only three states, so far, have taken steps to actually legalize gambling. The gambling capital of the world, Nevada, is one of them. Interestingly, the other two states, Delaware and New Jersey, border on the state of Pennsylvania. Likely, this has had an influence on the legislature members and lobbyists in Pennsylvania.
Surely, many of the same people who are involved with the internet gaming industry in Delaware and New Jersey are trying to get a foothold in the state of Pennsylvania. Considering the huge money that could be earned from internet gambling, the reason why they would like to move into PA makes perfect sense.
Something is occurring on the federal level that may upend the entire internet gambling industry in these three states. All the states that are currently considering legalizing online gambling are paying close attention to the current situation on the federal level. What is occurring? The House and The Senate are considering passing the RAWA, the Restoration of America’s Wire Act, a law that would outright ban online gambling on the federal level. Due to the Supremacy Clause of The Constitution, this law would bar all gambling on the state level. Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware would be required to shut down all internet gaming if this law was to pass and ended up signed into law.
A lot of online gaming industry insiders are doing their best to fight the passage of this law. So far, the law has stalled and does not look like it can pass right now. All of that could change at any point. Since internet gambling is not widely popular with the general population of the United States, there is not a huge groundswell to oppose the law. Lobbyists pushing both “for and against” positions are actively engaged in getting an attempt at a definitive outcome on the law.
Right now, internet gaming in Pennsylvania is far from being a proverbial done deal. If the various tumbling blocks in the legislature are cleared, then the law should easily pass. Will the governor sign the bill? Everyone has to wait to see what happens when it lands on the governor’s desk. That may take a while.