A proposal to legalize internet gambling in Pennsylvania has stalled until the success of online gambling in other states can be determined. Two months ago state Representative Tina Davis introduced an online gaming bill designed to keep pace with the neighboring states of Delaware and New Jersey. Both states plan to offer internet gambling later in the year. Observers say that the bill is unlikely to advance during the current legislative session. The development was revealed after Representative Tina Pickett to reporters from the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Pickett is the head of the House Committee on Gaming Oversight and favors a ‘wait and see’ approach to internet gambling.
This year New Jersey and Delaware are expected to follow Nevada’s lead and launch online gaming sites later in the year. Pennsylvania lawmakers want to see how internet gambling affects casinos in neighboring states. Pennsylvania is now the nation’s second largest gambling market. New Jersey casinos hope that internet gambling will boost their bottom lines. Atlantic City casinos are dealing with a stagnant economy, the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy last year and competition from casinos in Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland.
As has been mentioned Pennsylvania is the 2nd largest gaming market in the US. Davis proposed her bill,HB 1235, to help Pennsylvania retain that status. Davis is concerned that after internet gambling is introduced in New Jersey the state could return to the number 2 spot after revenue from internet gambling is factored in. There are indications that several state legislatures have also taken a ‘wait and see’ approach to internet gambling. Lawmakers want to determine profitability and whether player numbers at land based casinos will decrease due to online gambling.
Anti-gambling extremists in the legislature say they are worried about the proliferation of online gambling and that the internet will make gambling too available and accessible. They also say the gambling addiction will increase because problem gamblers will be able to place bets 24/7 from the privacy of their own homes. All of the internet gambling bills before the legislature contain provisions that would allocate additional funds to combat problem gambling. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie would not sign the online gambling bill until the legislature amended the bill to include more funding to treat gambling addicts.