The budget crisis in Pennsylvania has created an opportunity for online poker and casino games to become legal and regulated, but the urgency of the budget situation offers a significant pitfall.
As Mark Gruetze points out in this op/ed, adopting legislation under such conditions does not provide an opportunity for adequate public scrutiny and can lead to a poorly crafted industry as a result.
Though there is wide-spread support in Pennsylvania for online gaming, there is far from a consensus among interested parties—lawmakers included—on how to regulate the activity. For example, proposed taxes on igaming range from 54%, as proposed by State Senator Kim Ward in SB 900, to 14%, as proposed in State Representative Nick Miccarelli’s HB 695, a poker-only bill.
The combination of high interest levels and low consensus levels boiled together over the high heat of the budget crisis could spell disaster for online gaming in the Keystone State.