Could Pennsylvania Online Gambling End Talk of Federal Ban?

Remember those longshot but nevertheless pesky Sheldon Adelson-funded attempts at banning online casino gaming nationwide?

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday signed a bill that will establish a regulatory framework for the state’s 12 casinos to be able to offer their games over the internet. The Keystone State will be the fourth in the nation with internet casino games, while about 10 others have online lottery services. Pennsylvania will also have the i-lotto.

It’s been estimated that web betting could grow the state’s $3.2 billion-a-year gambling market by around 10 percent. The state casino revenue has been flat since 2012.

Ironically, a pair of Republican U.S. Congressmen from Pennsylvania, Charlie Dent and Michael Fitzpatrick (now retired), supported plans to outlaw the activity. Fortunately, the state legislature saw otherwise, thanks to a need to generate new tax and licensing revenues.

According to the Poker Players Alliance, a grassroots group championing poker on Capitol Hill, Pennsylvania’s move could spell the end of the prohibition efforts.

“When Gov. Wolf signed the bill this week it was a historic day for Pennsylvania consumers, and a clear rejection of federal efforts to dictate iGaming policy to the states,” PPA Executive Director John Pappas said. “Going into this week, anti-iGaming forces were already crippled; no federal bills to speak of, fewer Congressional champions and a DoJ with more important things to do than trample states’ rights. Now, I would have to think the ‘RAWA’ effort is mortally wounded.”

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