Pennsylvania Newspaper Comes Out In Support Of Online Gambling


Pennsylvania Newspaper Comes Out In Support Of Online Gambling

The editorial board at Pennsylvania’s Sentinel newspaper has become the first in the state to publicly support online gambling. Earlier this month, the paper published a short piece entitled “Our View: Seeking opportunities online” which pushes for the state to get out in front of the US iGaming industry before revenues are lost to surrounding states.

The op-ed applauded the fact that in just eight short years, Pennsylvania has grown to become the second largest gambling state, trailing only Nevada. Yet this year, PA’s 12 casinos reported a 6% drop in revenue from 2012, a $160 million decline for a total take of $2,319,890,598 during the fiscal year.

They attribute the slide to increased competition along the state’s borders and are fearful that if they don’t take advantage of Internet gaming, that the drop could continue. “The circle is closing,” it warned. “New Jersey and Delaware have legalized online gambling and are expanding casinos; New York is on the edge of legislative approval for Internet play; Maryland is looking at a sixth casino and Ohio has been deliberately sidestepping enforcement of online gambling.”

Avoiding an Atlantic City-like crisis
The authors give the reader a peek at the effect such competition could bring by looking at the fledgling Atlantic City brick-and-mortar and online gambling industries. This year, they point out, four casinos have already shut down, with a fifth, Trump Taj Mahal, closing up shop soon. Some 8,000 casino employees have lost their jobs there this year, exacerbating the state’s current financial woes.

Even New Jersey’s most luxurious casino, Revel, which opened only two years ago, was recently shuttered. Analysts believe that the economic crisis affecting the city is directly related to new competition springing up in neighboring states.

Benefits of acting quickly

The Sentinel editorial board doesn’t want the same to happen in the Keystone State, and tries to motivate residents and lawmakers to continue making progress in crafting an online gambling bill. “The industry could count on $180 million in revenue to start and up to $300 million revenue annually if lawmakers are inclined to legalize online poker and casino gaming,” it reminded. “Taxwise that eventually would mean at least $113 million yearly for state coffers.”

The state has so far taken a slow and steady approach, garnering interest amongst the state’s gambling players, and holding hearings to discuss the issue and educate lawmakers. But the authors hope that the legislature will act quickly as “the window of opportunity seems to be narrowing for Pennsylvania to place its bet,” they concluded.

The support of one of the state’s newspapers, though, is a great step forward in the process of making the industry legal in Pennsylvania.