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Gambling Bill Signed by Pennsylvanian Governor

- November 1, 2017 By Oliver Young -

The law also regulates peer-to-peer poker.

Pennsylvania finally legalised online gambling.

Pennsylvania is one of the states where online gambling legalisation proponents have been very active in the past few years, especially in the past 12 months or so. A new legal solution on gambling that contained provisions on online casinos was put forward earlier this year by State Senator Costa who is one of the most vocal gambling legalisation proponents, and later the law finally reached the State Senate.

Despite the strong opposition, Pennsylvania finally passed the new gambling law. However, there are doubts and debates on the effects of the new law, and we are yet to see what is going to happen in the upcoming year. Still, it has to be concluded that legalising online gambling in Pennsylvania will have a positive impact on the industry, but that’s pretty much given.

The Attempts of the Opponents of the Law Were Futile

The opponents of the law and the legalisation altogether were pretty loud. First, many lawmakers who opposed the law argued that they didn’t have enough time to study the 900-page long bill, despite the fact that the actual length of the legal material was about 500 pages and that it was proposed 10 months ago, which means they had plenty of time. As their argumentation failed and the bill was passed, many opponents then asked the Governor to refuse to sign the bill, but that didn’t happen either.

Sheldon Adelson was one of the biggest opponents of online gambling in Pennsylvania, he even argued that he would pull out from the state and sell his land-based casino, but perhaps now he will have a chance to see that online gambling isn’t such a serious threat to the land-based casino industry.

Because, while it is true that some players switch from land-based to online gambling when given the chance, it isn’t as simple and as straightforward as that. Namely, the revenues and profits of land-based casinos don’t always drop dramatically whenever online gambling is legalised.

Is It Time for a Federal Solution in the US?

When states legalise online gambling, their primary motive is gathering tax funds and there’s nothing wrong with that. The question is whether or not they will manage to raise as much as they’ve hoped. US states often set a gambling tax that’s too demanding and as a result not enough revenues are generated and therefore the gambling tax yield isn’t what they expected in the first place.

Authorities often fail to realise that gambling doesn’t produce wealth, it redirects money from other industries, it is entertainment and therefore, the taxes can’t be too high, because that will discourage both operators, as well as players. The only way to amass larger tax revenues is by opening to international players, which is not the case with any US state. We would have to conclude that while it is a positive thing for the industry and its perspectives when a state legalises online gambling, the issue isn’t local, but a global one.

It is worth noting that Pennsylvania is one of the ‘most-gambling’ states and its citizens and visitors lose over $3 billion per year at the state’s land-based casinos.

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