Welcome to the world of online gambling, Pennsylvania. Trying to keep up with the neighbors (specifically New Jersey), Pennsylvania is going to conduct a wide-ranging study of gambling that includes a close look at online gambling.
Senator Joe Scarnati, a Republican leader in the State Senate, authored the bill. “With New Jersey doing internet gaming, and I believe the main intent was to get customers back from Pennsylvania, we need to be a bit more aware of where we want to head with gaming,” said Scarnati. “And what we want to do is keep those customers.”
Pennsylvania first got involved in the brick and mortar casino business when its first casino opened in 2006.
Almost $14 billion in revenue has been generated by visitors to the state’s casinos. The state has a 55% tax rate on those casinos, meaning nearly $8 billion in revenue has gone to the state’s bottom line.
In the past six years, Pennsylvania has legalized slots casinos, table games in casinos, expanded the lottery offerings, and even legalized small games of chance in bars and taverns.
The state is facing a $1.2 billion deficit in next year’s budget, and lawmakers are desperate to lower that number.
“Currently it’s an illegal activity that’s taking place in the Commonwealth,” Scarnati said. “Everybody knows it’s taking place. Everybody knows how it takes place. So either we put our arms around this and figure out how to legalize this because, once again, it would be another revenue source. I’m certain somebody out of 253 members of the General Assembly are gonna put that proposal out there.”