Penn National to File Lawsuit After Pennsylvania Governor Approves Gaming Bill

by Jim Hall

Penn National GamingPenn National is planning to sue the state of Pennsylvania after online gambling bill is signed into law.

The state of Pennsylvania has the second largest commercial casino market in the United States. Currently sitting behind Nevada, the state could become the number one operating state now that changes have been made to what will be offered in regards to gambling. Governor Tom Wolf recently signed a gambling bill into law that will allow the state to offer online options, airport gaming, VGTs at truck stops, daily fantasy sports, satellite casinos and more. Since the beginning of expansion talks, one operator in the state has been opposed, worrying about cannibalization within the industry. Now that the bill has become law, Penn National is going to sue due to what they see as a threat to their existing gaming business.

Suing the State

Vice President of Public Affairs for Penn National, Eric Schippers, commented on the company’s disappointment in the new legislation by stating:

Eric Schippers Statement

While Penn National does have a point, it is hard to predict just what the impact will be on existing venues. Online gaming has proven to be an income producer for land-based venues, by simply looking at what New Jersey has been able to accomplish. If Penn National got in on the action, they could possibly see even more revenues instead of a loss due to gaming changes of the state. The tax rate could also be an issue. For slots, gaming online would be taxed at 54%. This is an extremely high amount and could see no one try to gain licensing, at least where slots are concerned.

Penn National is probably also worried about the satellite casinos. The venues are supposed to be located at least 25 miles away from a rival gaming facility. With the Hollywood being so secluded from other properties, they will most likely be the closest from a satellite casino. The other casinos of the state are near other gaming venues which pushes the mileage of any satellite casino out further distances.

On the Up Side

While Penn National is not happy with the legislative changes and will most likely file suit, other operators couldn’t be happier. Valley Forge Casino recently reported that are paying $1 million to be able to open up their gaming floor to any and everyone. In the past, the venue was restricted as to who could visit the gaming floor. They can now offer services to everyone and will have the ability to add more slot games and poker changes thanks to the new law.

Other casinos are looking forward to entering the online gambling world while airports look to offer gaming as well. The industry is certainly growing and expanding at a rapid rate and it hasn’t even been a full week since the legislation was passed into law. It will be interesting to watch in the coming weeks and months how the industry changes and just how well the changes are received.