Pennsylvania lawmakers have debated regulating online gambling for the past several years. Many experts have been skeptical that they would make any progress, but recent statements indicate they are likely to pass an online gambling bill within the next year.
William Thomas, Executive of the House Gaming Oversight Committee, maintains that online gambling would be highly beneficial to Pennsylvania citizens. Thomas said that many citizens are already gambling in the state via foreign gambling sites. He pointed out that regulating online gambling would allow the state to generate additional tax revenue. He also said that regulated gaming sites would include a number of safeguards that are unavailable on overseas gaming platforms.
Lawmakers are looking for new ways to curtail the state’s $1 billion deficit. A recent study from Econsult Solutions shows that legalizing online gambling could be a potential solution, because Pennsylvania would bring in nearly $200 million in tax revenues in the first year.
Legislative insiders and gaming experts are confident that state lawmakers will pass an online gambling bill in the next year. Their expectations may be overly optimistic until state legislature chooses the best course forward. Lawmakers are currently debating six different online gambling proposals and it is unclear which are most likely to be passed.
Thomas stated that lawmakers will face fewer obstacles in the coming session. Governor Corbett is expected to lose his reelection bid to Democrat challenger Tom Wolf. Wolf is expected to take a more liberal stance on online gambling, so the chances of a bill being passed will improve significantly.
Pennsylvania lawmakers are becoming increasingly supportive of online gambling. Pennsylvania could soon be the fourth state to pass an online gambling, which will create many opportunities for the state’s struggling economy.