Extensive research into the current state of Pennsylvania’s gaming industry to determine whether enacting online gambling legislation would be beneficial has shown that the Keystone State could reap substantial revenue in approving such regulations.
Released yesterday by the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LBFC), a study conducted by Econsult Solutions of Philadelphia showed that revenue totals of an igaming scheme could reach $184 million in the first year of operation. Revenue in subsequent years could climb as high as $307 million, with projections broken down to $178 million of that coming from online casino games and $129 million from online poker.
Poker Players Alliance executive director John Pappas, who provided testimony last week at an online gambling hearing held by the Pennsylvania House Democratic Policy Committee, issued a statement after perusing the study commissioned by the LBFC:
Today’s study truly changes the discussion in the state from ‘if’ there will be licensed and regulated online gaming in Pennsylvania to ‘when,'” said the PPA’s top man. “As more states choose to embrace online gaming, the market – and thus tax revenue – will only continue to increase. I believe the estimates we saw today from Pennsylvania, and the revenue reports from states that currently have an online marketplace, are just the beginning of the true economic benefit to states from online gaming.”
There is additional good news emanating from the study entitled “The Current Condition and Future Viability of Casino Gaming in Pennsylvania.” Researchers found that Internet gambling revenue would not cannibalize the revenue seen from land-based casinos. In fact, the study indicated that online gambling tends to complement casino gambling.
Cannibalization of existing revenue has long been a concern of Pennsylvania and other states considering online gambling regulations. As most in the online poker industry are aware, the marketing opportunities of offering online satellite tournaments in which winners can earn free entries to live poker events within casinos can actually increase brick and mortar casino traffic.
The report did point out some negativity in Pennsylvania’s gaming industry, but it pertains to brick and mortar locations. The revenue enjoyed at land-based casinos in Pennsylvania will soon be taking a hit due to likely casino expansion from the neighboring states of New York, Maryland, Ohio, and possibly New Jersey.
Pennsylvania has benefited from siphoning gamblers from West Virginia, Delaware and New Jersey in the past. That has allowed the Keystone State to become no. 2 in the country in brick and mortar casino revenue behind only Nevada in that regard. However, turnaround is fair play and it looks as though Pennsylvania may now be in line to experience decreased land-based gaming revenue in future years as a result of new casinos popping up in nearby states.
Ever the more reason for Pennsylvania lawmakers to enact online poker and gambling legislation. To make up for the projected loss of land-based casino revenue by enjoying a new windfall of Internet gambling revenue.