Just one day after scheduling hearings to discuss gambling in the state of Pennsylvania, State Representative John Payne introduced an online gaming bill. On Wednesday, Payne, the Chairman of the House Gaming Oversight Committee, introduced legislation in the hopes of keeping the state casinos competitive with neighboring states and the entire US.
In a report by Philly.com, Payne states that New Jersey has online gambling, Delaware and Las Vegas as well. The representative feels it would be a mistake for Pennsylvania to sit and wait until Ohio begins offering online gaming as well as Maryland and New York. Payne feels as though the state has to be up and running to be able to compete with neighboring states.
Payne and co-sponsors of the bill are positive that the revenue expectations will be high, based on the experience of New Jersey. The protected tax revenues for the state with online gambling for the first year are at $120 million. This money would help the $2 billion deficit which is on slate for fiscal 2016. A 14 percent tax rate has been proposed and with this rate, the state would have to earn $857 million in gross revenues to meet the tax target.
Other officials of the state seem to be in agreement with online gambling but do not seem to have been prepared for the introduction of an online gaming bill, before the scheduled hearings. Casino owners were contacted on the subject and believe it will enhance the revenues made but must be approached carefully. Chairman Bob Green of the company behind Parx Casino stated that if online gaming is to be done, it must be done right. The first priority in Pennsylvania must be the brick and mortar casino industry.
Green stated that online gaming would need to be integrated into the existing casino industry and be an extended service to those who already take part in gaming within the state, the casino customer base. Payne reiterated that his job as Chairman is to make sure the casinos of the state remain ‘vibrant and financially healthy’.
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