Nearly all Pennsylvania casinos, and a number of key legislators, are principally united in support of online gaming. But those hoping to cross the regulatory bridge must first contend with an imposing foe: Sheldon Adelson.
And backed by the casino magnate’s estimated $28 billion fortune, an oppositional campaign is already underway in the state.
Sands Bethlehem boss Mark Juliano testified recently at a hearing of Senator Kim Ward’s Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee. Echoing Adelson’s opposition, Juliano sharply criticized regulatory efforts.
“Today, proposals are being considered which will erode the successful progress we have made in Pennsylvania,” said Juliano, who also cautioned against allowing off-track betting and tavern gambling in the state. “Approving these proposals will undermine the operators who have built destinations and will place thousands of jobs at risk.”
Juliano said the additional options would counteract 11 years of operator investment in the state’s brick-and-mortar casinos. He noted Sands, which purchased and converted factory space once owned by the iconic Bethlehem Steel Corporation, has since poured almost $900 million into developing its Pennsylvania facilities.
“Internet gambling is a job killer that seeks to move jobs from casinos in Pennsylvania to server farms in foreign countries,” he said.
Regulation, Juliano told legislators, would “hurt the businesses that many in Harrisburg say they want to help.”