Pennsylvania Eyes Online Gambling

Posted By: Date: 06/23/2014 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

Like most states, Pennsylvania is in need of a little extra money in their pocket. Rather than raise taxes on things that already have a high tax rate, they’ve decided to look at online gambling as a means to increase the state’s revenue. They’re in good company.

New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada found themselves in similar situations, so they decided to give online gambling a shot. Delaware raised a couple million dollars, which, all things considered, isn’t terrible. They have a population of roughly a million people, so to get that much this early isn’t a bad things. New Jersey raised around $11 million this past April. Pennsylvania, however, stands to raise a little more.

If legalized in Pennsylvania, early estimates point to online gambling raising roughly $68 million in its first year. This equals about $5 and a half million each month. However, analysts are predicting that once it has been legalized for several years, it could bring in $110 million annually.

The key to doing so is reaching that audience that’s merely curious about gambling but doesn’t want to act on it. By tempting them with offers such as a no deposit bonus, they can increase revenue even further. Pennsylvania is roughly 46,000 square miles, and there’s only 12 casinos in the state. It’s fair to say that there’s a lot of people that would like to gamble, but they don’t want to make the venture to do so. By offering the opportunity to do so from their own home, they’d bring in a lot of new business.

Like most supporters of online gambling, Stephen Mullin, president of Econsult Solutions, says that online gambling won’t hurt land-based casinos.

“It’s a different audience out there. Not to say that there isn’t somebody who plays I-games and also goes to a casino, but it is a very different audience,” he said, in support of Internet gambling. Most of Pennsylvania’s 12 casinos support the effort, but one doesn’t: the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem. If you’ve read some other articles, the name may sound familiar. You can probably guess who owns it: Sheldon Adelson.

Adelson is a self-made billionaire on a quest to personally kill any Internet gambling legalization in the United States. His national campaign to outlaw online gambling is funded by his nearly endless pockets – he’s the 8th richest man in the world.

Once again, it appears we’re at a stalemate. Pennsylvania wants that extra revenue, and while most land-based casinos support it, Adelson’s Sands Casino Resort in Behlehem strictly opposes it. Will Adelson back down, or will Internet gambling continue to remain illegal in Pennsylvania? Only time will tell if Pennsylvania gets the extra money it truly needs.

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