Majority of Pennsylvania Casinos in Favor of iGaming

by Jim Hall

PennsylvaniaThe majority of casinos located in Pennsylvania seem to be in favor of online gaming for the state.

Pennsylvania has been the top state expected to pass legislation in regards to online poker and casino gaming. The state has tried for years, with several bills proposed and discussed, but no passage as of yet. This year, the state seems to have moved forward in a positive manner, with legislation on the table that would create an online gambling industry in the state. Last week, a joint hearing took place with the House and Senate present, with representatives of the 12 casinos of the state joining in to either provide support or show opposition. The majority of the casinos seem to be in favor of online but there was opposition showed during the hearing.

Showing Support

During the hearing, ten of the twelve casinos in the state showed support of online gaming for Pennsylvania. This number could soon become eleven if the Sands Bethlehem is sold to MGM Resorts. MGM seems to be a company that would be more in favor of online gaming, especially when compared to the Sands Bethlehem which has shown opposition on the subject.

If MGM purchases the Sands, the only opposed gaming venue would be the Parx Casino. The representative of the casino said that they feel online gambling would cannibalize the land based industry and they do not want to lose revenues if the industry is legalized.

Those in Support

During the hearing, six casinos offered their full on support for online gaming legalization. These casinos include:

Mount Airy

Valley Forge

Lady Luck

Caesars Operator of Harrah’s

Rush Street Operator of SugarHouse and Rivers

Mount Airy Casino stated that they are in full support of internet gaming legalization with reasonable licensing fees and a tax rate that is similar to the one found in New Jersey. Valley Force Casino representative Eric Pearson, the CEO and President of the venue, stated that he would like to see Category 3 casinos allowed to take part.

Lady Luck’s rep said that the parent company of the casino, Isle of Capri Casinos, is in favor of iGaming authorization as it would allow current licensees to drive new customers to their facilities as well as bring in additional revenues to the state.

Caesars showed great support during the meeting, with Senior Vice President, Government Relations & Development David Satz providing a PowerPoint presentation showing the current state of affairs and how legalization could benefit the state. Rush Street gaming also showed their support and discussed how they offer online gaming in New Jersey and how they have enjoyed the opportunity to do so.

Other Supporters

Other casinos in the state have also shown support for online gaming legalization in the past, including Penn National, the operator of Hollywood Casino, Meadows, Presque Isle and the Mohegan Sun. In the past, these venues have shown support during hearings or in discussions on the matter.

New Legislation

While the majority of lawmakers seem to be in support of online gaming, there is a new development that goes in the complete opposition direction. Last Friday, Representative Thomas Murt introduced House Bill 801 which would make it illegal for any individual or entity to offer online gambling games, poker and casino games included.

This legislation comes as a surprise as so much work has been put in to launching online poker and casino gaming in the state. The legislation has four co-sponsors and would make any operator of such games be in violation of the law with the potential to face jail time or pay a fine.

Hopefully, this bill will be ignored and legislators will continue on the path to legalizing online gaming in the state, becoming the next to join the blossoming industry.