The Pennsylvania House Gaming Oversight Committee hosted a hearing March 19th, 2015 at the Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack, where casino executives gave testimony in order to gain online gambling in the state. So far the neighboring states of New Jersey and Delaware are already seeing positive growth from allowing online gambling.
Executive vice president of Caesars Entertainment Group, Jan Jones Blackhurst, flew to the hearing from Las Vegas to give her synopsis of the idea. She was quoted saying, “Today’s reality is that Internet gambling is taking place in all 50 states, almost all of it illegally. It’s an environment that’s ripe for fraud and criminal activity and it provides no tax revenue.”
Currently, Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey allow online gambling and it seems to be working in a positive way. If Pennsylvania were to legalize online gambling, it would give participants safer gambling practices by adding regulation by the state and by protecting the consumer from fraudulent online practices.
Blackhurst went on to inform the committee that online gambling is here to stay whether it is state regulated or not and that the state would benefit from legalizing and standardizing the practice in order to gain tax money. In addition she commented that she is not alone and wants to create a safer environment than offshore casinos allow.
State Representative John Payne, a Republican of Hershey, Pennsylvania put HB-649 on the table last February. Payne, who is chairperson of the Gaming Oversight Committee, placed the order to help the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board seize the opportunity to explore the idea of accepting online gambling into the state.
They would be able to regulate whatever games they decided to take on, from interactive keno, online poker and fantasy sports betting. Everything is on the table at this time, and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is looking into the possibility of allowing online gambling in the very near future.
A study done by H2 Gambling capital in 2014, stated that Pennsylvania could bring in $300 million dollars annually by allowing online gambling. Of that revenue, approximately $42 million would be tax revenue for the state.
The hearing was held in order to allow current casino owners to give their input was on the matter. One of the main concerns the owners of Pennsylvania’s current twelve casinos was how to keep underage gambling down and how to incorporate safety measures so there would be no breach in the security of the online gambling customer’s information.
Overall, current casino owners were favorable to the idea of having online gambling become a reality and they believe it would make a big impact on the amount of revenue the state would reap by allowing the practice to be legalized. The amount of people that would have access to their facilitates would be greatly increased.
The Pennsylvania House Gaming Oversight Committee has several more hearings set up in the oncoming months, including meetings with gaming regulators from other states, and with Pennsylvania State Police before any further progress is made.