On the surface at least it appeared as if Pennsylvania would be the next state in the US to legalize online gambling. But don’t tell this to the land-based casinos that would hold the licensing rights to operate said virtual gaming sites.
The Morning Call of Allentown, PA featured a piece Monday morning questioning what benefits, if any, would come to the likes of PA’s biggest land-based casino property, Bethlehem Sands.
Several casinos said the gambling expansion bill is a nonstarter, largely because its 54 percent tax rate on most of the proposed internet gambling is too high for them to make money. So they're not willing to buy the $5 million licenses that would make up the bulk of the new revenue. If the casinos would bite, legislators estimate the bill could generate as much as $146.6 million for the 2017-18 budget. That would go a long way toward filling a projected $3 billion deficit in the next fiscal year, which begins in July. But if no casinos buy in, it would leave a shortfall of up to $120 million in the Senate's projections.
Eric Schippers, spokesman for Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Dauphin County, also expressed concerns that more than 80 percent of the projected revenue would come from Internet gaming licenses that casinos aren't interested in.
"If this bill passes as is, you're going to hear crickets, because no casino is going to buy a license," Schippers said. "It's 24-hour liquor sales all over again."
- Aaron Goldstein, Gambling911.com