Pennsylvania lawmakers are due back in Harrisburg next week, and the clock is ticking for legalizing online casino games this year.
For years the Keystone State has looked like the favorite to be the fourth state in the country with much-needed regulation on the games. Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware have all had the industry for about four years now. More chips of hope were pushed toward Pennsylvania when it became clear that California is nowhere close to passing an online poker bill.
What has helped fuel the momentum for Pennsylvania is an ongoing budget stalemate. The state faces a $2 billion budget shortfall that online gaming could help fix. The governor has eyed as much as $250 million more or less immediately from gambling expansion to fill state coffers.
The budget crisis could be delayed yet another year, which would be bad news for online gaming, but at some point lawmakers have to find a solution that isn’t just reduced spending. According to a Pennlive.com guest editorial, there are rumors that lawmakers could try to balance this year’s budget by raiding other funds.
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