Pennsylvania made great strides in gambling legislation during the last legislative session. The state is continuing to move forward with more and more opportunities to get into the game of gambling. However, there are some legislators who want to either add more regulations for the gaming industry, or add more products. The legislators plan to introduce additional gaming legislation moving forward in 2019.
The History of Gambling in Pennsylvania
For decades, the state of Pennsylvania represented itself as a state that would not allow gambling, because of the traditional conservative values in the state. While Pennsylvania had a lottery beginning in 1971, they did not have any other form of gambling for an additional 30 years. However, in the 21st century, there began to be a market for gambling in the state. Many citizens of the state began to ask the legislature to approve other forms of gambling in the state. In addition, state legislators realized that gambling could help the state’s bottom line. Although several attempts were made to make some forms of gambling legal, such as riverboat gambling and horseracing, they were defeated. It wasn’t until the 2004 legislative session that the beginnings of legislation for gambling began to be passed. Horseracing was the first form of gambling to be passed, followed by casino gambling. Pennsylvania began to realize that there was money in the gambling business.
Pennsylvania’s Legislative Session
The previous legislative session saw much growth and change in the gambling legislation for the state. While the state had legalized casino gambling in 2006, it took a while for the casino gambling laws to bear fruit in the Pennsylvania economy. However, the state has seen increasing revenue from gambling. Close to a billion dollars were paid to the state for gambling revenues in the fiscal year 2017-2018.
During the legislative session, the state increased its share of gambling revenues. The legislators passed several different laws during the last legislative session. First, a new law allows up to 10 new mini-casinos around the state, as people in Pennsylvania have stated they want additional places to gamble. The mini-casinos are to be located in smaller towns throughout the state. In addition, the legislature passed a law that will allow sports betting at casinos or racetracks in the state. Truck stops were also allowed to get slot machines under the new legislative session.
The Future of Gambling Legislation
While many people in Pennsylvania are pleased with the outcome of gambling legislation, there are some legislators that are not ready to stop legislating. First, there have been calls for greater regulation of the Gaming Control Board, even though it appears the board has wide approval in the state for the way it has dealt with gambling expansion. In addition, other legislators in the state have agitated for an expansion of the control board with community members, as well as members of law enforcement.
Other proposed legislation for the upcoming session would include a reduction in the licensing fees for casinos and racetracks for online betting and sports betting. The fees in the state for gambling licenses (up to $3 million per license) make it difficult for some companies to afford to apply for a license. There are also bills to approve additional sportsbooks in Pennsylvania, and ways to expedite the growth of sports gaming and casino gambling online. The Gaming Control Board has stated that online growth of gambling is the future. Pennsylvania is gunning to be the frontrunner for online gambling and gambling applications in the US. The future looks bright for the Keystone state, as they appear to be far ahead of their competition around them. It looks as if revenues from gambling will continue to grow in the near future for Pennsylvania.
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