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Pennsylvanian Lawmakers yet to Decide on VGT Legalisation

- July 10, 2017 By Oliver Young -

Legalisation of VGTs and other forms of gambling will bring almost half a billion in revenue.

The Pennsylvania House has not reached a decision on the new budget.

Pennsylvania is one US state where the interests of the anti-online gambling lobby and the proponents of online gambling legalisation clash very often. The main battle is of course, legal, and it is fought in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and the State Senate, but other methods are used and employed as well.

One of the strongest opponents of the legalisation of online gambling in Pennsylvania, Sheldon Adelson, has an interest in the state’s land-based industry. On more than one occasion, he has even threatened to stop all investments in the state if a legalisation bill is passed through the legislative bodies of Pennsylvania. On the other hand, those who are in favour of legalisation have made various attempts over the years, to come up a legal solution that will gain broader support.

Increased Tax Revenue Expected

The number of people of influence who have acknowledged that gambling legalisation will have a positive effect on the state budget is constantly growing. That is one of the main arguments used by lawmakers who are in favour of legalisation. The bill that was proposed by Senator Costa earlier this year was intended to bring at least $135 million in tax revenues.

Some suggested that the tax percentage is still too low, but gambling proponents argued that if the tax burden is raised further, many investors will no longer have a financial benefit significant enough to justify their investment and thus the legalisation might not give the expected outcome and results.

The legislators are currently debating the next budget and whether or not video gaming terminals are legalised will have a serious impact on the budget. They have not been able to reach a decision in the previous 10-day period.

If slot-style games become available at restaurants, bars and other locals throughout Pennsylvania, which will surely be good for the budget, some even suggest that the revenue would exceed $450 million per year, possibly even reach an amount of $550 million.

Still No Agreement

Many in the House of Representatives agree that a gambling expansion will increase the state’s financial well-being. The leader of the House Majority Reed said that the bill would just give the opportunity for a legalisation of video gaming terminals and then it would be up to the administration to decide if they wish to go through.

Even representatives who are not in favour of gambling expansion, like Stephen Bloomfield, decided to favour the bill, as it will give the state an opportunity to raise its tax income. In addition to gambling legalisation, the House also viewed and took a position on other solutions that might help improve the condition of the budget. A removal of tax exemption on standard cable TV, as well as other solutions were considered.

Some Republicans in the House were opposed to any sort of tax increase, even though it is clear that alternative options for budget funding have to be considered. The Republican leader in the State Senate said that no deal has been reached between the Republican State Senators and the House Representatives, which means that the stalemate might continue.

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