Is legal online gambling coming to Pennsylvania in early 2014? Frequently one of the states discussed when talks of possible US Internet gambling entry is concerned, the Keystone State appears to be seriously considering entering the young but growing Internet gambling industry in the United States. Several pieces of legislation have failed to deliver online gambling in the past, but there is reason to believe that Pennsylvania has a very good chance of joining the likes of Nevada which offers legal online gambling, Delaware and New Jersey as regulated states which offer legal betting online in some form this year.
Due to its population, approximately 13 million, Pennsylvania Internet gambling could immediately earn its nickname and become the Keystone state of online gambling in the US. With a populace roughly equal to the combined populations of the three states currently delivering Internet gambling, Pennsylvania could possibly become an almost instant leader by legalizing online casinos and poker rooms. The move by New Jersey to deliver virtual casino and poker gambling options to its residents was hastened in part due to the fact that nearby Pennsylvania has been in the recent past stealing substantial foot traffic from the state’s Atlantic City-based Boardwalk casinos. That could continue in the Cyber world if current legislation passes in Pennsylvania.
With a population of about 9 million, New Jersey took in $8.4 million in just under six weeks during its initial offering of Internet casino and poker. A simple extrapolation according to population alone shows that Pennsylvania could have cashed in for around $12 million during that same time period, all things being equal. And those numbers posted by the Garden State were with a limited number of websites delivering Internet gambling options. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett is looking to fill what appears to be an upcoming budget deficit, and he agrees with top Pennsylvania state lawmakers that Internet gambling is the wave of the future, it is inevitable, and is an industry whose time has come.
Lottery gambling in Pennsylvania is already a viable and cash-producing market which is popularly supported by the state’s residents. According to Corbett, a mere expansion of the current lottery gambling legislation is all that is needed for legalized online gambling in some forms. As recently as 2011 this would not have been possible at the state level in America. However, the Department of Justice made an early Christmas present on December 23, 2011, when they gifted online gambling proponents with the provision that each individual state dictate its own legal online lottery gambling destiny, as long as sports gambling was not offered.
This paved the way for the Pennsylvania Senate Finance Committee to schedule a hearing on Wednesday, January 29, when testimony from gambling industry executives and lawmakers on both sides of the issue will be heard. A proposal for keno to be added to the Pennsylvania Lottery is expected, and the Philadelphia Inquirer has revealed that Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (Delaware County) expects the keno legislation to pass easily, as “there hasn’t been much controversy” involving that particular Internet gambling offering. Also, the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee will discuss the potential effect of online gambling on Pennsylvania’s casinos and state tax collections. Legalization of Internet keno, as well as initial and serious discussions regarding other forms of Pennsylvania casino and poker gambling online, could result in the state becoming the fourth and possibly most important so far to offer legal betting online in the United States.