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Online Gambling: Pennsylvania Joins Bordering States

shutterstock_124842877Pennsylvania is already a formidable force in the gambling industry, second only to Nevada but the Keystone State is ready to make a giant leap forward. The lawmakers have been working on a new gambling bill and proposed a new legislation that is aimed at legalising online gambling. They draw inspiration from what was done in New Jersey and Delaware and plan on legalising online gambling to help Pennsylvania stay competitive.

Those interested in learning more about what this bill is all about need to wait a bit longer for it to be published on the state’s website. For the time being it is only certain that major changes were made in regard to the licensing fees which were reduced from $16.7 million to $5 million. The same markdown was applied to the tax rate which was cut from 45% to 28%, but the real challenge is making sure that this money goes straight to the state’s coffers.

Pennsylvania wants to regulate internet gambling and see the money collected as a result of taxing the industry going to its own accounts and not be diverted in any way. That’s why Gov. Tom Corbett was against a federal proposal of regulating online poker, which he regarded as a preemption of state power. The proposed bill states that the main beneficiaries of the money will be the State Lottery Fund and the Property Tax Relief Fund. Regardless of how the money will be split, Pennsylvania has a lot to gain as a result of legalising online gambling in general and poker in particular. Even now, this industry generates in excess of $7 billion in taxes and 16,000 jobs were created to keep it running smoothly.

Another concern for Pennsylvania and all states contemplating the opportunity of regulating online gambling is to create the right regulatory framework. This would ensure that the games run fairly and both operators and authorities get what is rightfully theirs, while users play responsibly and receive the necessary assistance to avoid addiction. The gaming system should be capable of protecting the residents of Pennsylvania, while keeping the state competitive and producing substantial revenue through taxation.

A week ago, Bally Technologies sponsored an event called Pennsylvania Gaming Congress. Its purpose was to raise awareness about the specific opportunities and obstacles of the gaming industry in Pennsylvania. If the Keystone state is to become the fourth in the US to pass online gaming legislation, those responsible for creating the regulatory framework need to know exactly what they are dealing with. The stakes couldn’t be higher, but the expansion of Internet games could mark the beginning of a flourishing period for Pennsylvania.


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