Monday January 27,2014 : WILL ONLINE GAMBLING BE ON THE PENNSYLVANIA BUDGET AGENDA?
Gambling expansion, including online gambling legalization, may be debated again.
With budget debates likely over the next few months in Pennsylvania, local experts are expecting the expansion of gambling, possibly including the legalization of internet gambling, to be on the agenda.
“Both measures could mean hundreds of millions in annual tax revenue at a time when the state is in the red. The administration says Pennsylvania could be facing at least a $1.2 billion budget gap for the fiscal year that begins July 1,” the publication explains.
However, opposition is expected to be strong, and one Representative, Republican Paul Clymer, has already introduced a bill seeking to ban online gambling legalization in the state.
Philly.com claims that the most likely bet for expansion is keno, which many lawmakers believe should be controlled and operated by the state lottery. An informational hearing on keno is scheduled next week in the state Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi is on record as saying that there is little opposition to keno as a lottery game; over a dozen other states' lotteries offer the game, including Ohio, Maryland, and Delaware.
Online gambling could face much sterner opposition; last year the state Senate passed a resolution to have the legislature study whether the state should legalise and the likely effects this might have
That survey is due for presentation to the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee on May 1 this year, when budget negotiations begin intensifying.
It’s a complex issue with many decisions and choices that are sure to generate argument.
"There has been almost no discussion on the issue to date," Pileggi told Philly.com, adding that any measure seeking to change the gambling landscape so dramatically would require hearings and much public input.
"I don't think it is something that could be done quickly," he concluded.