NEW LOBBY GROUP EMERGES IN PENNSYLVANIA
The Pennsylvania Video Gaming Association will lobby for the legalization of an "already-present industry…but not for online gambling.
With the focus on Pennsylvania as the most likely next US state to legalize online gambling as part of a general gambling expansion measure, reporters noted this week the emergence of a new lobbying group in the state – the Pennsylvania Video Gaming Association.
Formed last (December) month, the body wants to legalize video poker in bars, clubs and truck stops, claiming that although illegal it is already widely present in the state and should therefore be made legal in order to protect consumers and generate tax revenue.
The legalization of video poker in Pennsylvania is already a part of an omnibus gambling expansion measure that includes online gambling, but the expansion and legalization of video poker is one of the more contentious provisions that has met with opposition from land casino operators.
One of legalized video poker's main political supporters is Democratic Party state Senator Lisa Boscola, and she may be the conduit through which the Pennsylvania Video Gaming Association channels its proposed legalization.
The Association's government affairs spokesman, Andy Goodman, revealed this week that the organization is drafting a legislative proposal for submission before mid-year, and that this is similar to the Illinois legalization that generated $300 million in video poker revenues last year, creating hundreds of jobs.
"In addition to jobs, legalizing this type of gaming revitalized many bars and clubs, especially veterans clubs," he said.
Boscola said that opposition by land casinos is misplaced, and that the advance of video poker will not cut into their business because it serves an entirely different clientele.
The senator said that depending on the specifics of the PVGA draft legalization she would be supportive …but she warned that she was against online gambling and would vote against any measure calling for the legalization of that genre, which she described as "addictive".
Sen. Boscola is selective when it comes to gambling laws, it appears; not long ago she worked successfully to allow games of chance that raise money for charities, provided entry fees are below $20 and there are less than 100 participants.
Goodman said that the need to plug budget deficit gaps without raising taxes on already hard-pressed tax-payers makes this a propitious time in which to launch legalized video poker