Lawmakers study independent report by Econsult
The much-anticipated independent report on gambling in Pennsylvania was presented to state lawmakers Wednesday by Econsult, the specialist company engaged to conduct the review… and its findings are likely to give the argument for legalised online gambling in the state a boost.
Econsult found that licensed and regulated internet gambling, possibly through the state's existing licensed land casino operators, could in time generate another $307 million a year in gambling revenue for the state.
Researchers predict that the introduction of Internet gambling could produce up to $68 million in tax revenue in the first year and as much as $110 million annually after that – without hurting the state's bricks-and-mortar casinos.
"The net effect of i-gaming would be to complement, not cannibalize, land-based gaming," Stephen P. Mullin, president of Econsult, testified.
Econsult was commissioned for the task last December as the debate on whether to legalise gathered momentum and state senators wanted a broad review of gambling in general (see previous InfoPowa reports).
The state is facing a billion-dollar budget gap, and the possibility of additional revenues from a new source is sure to make for an extensive debate on the legalisation issue.
Econsult concluded that the introduction of regulated and licensed online gambling was unlikely to take players away from the state's land casinos.
The survey found that online gambling typically allows smaller bets and caters to a younger demographic, and would attract a new class of gamblers, creating a fresh pool of people to attract to casinos, Econsult said, adding the caveat, however, that studies into the relationship between online and offline gambling are very limited.
Legislation to legalise online gambling in different forms has been introduced in at least eight states, including Pennsylvania, according to information from the National Conference on State Legislatures.
The Pennsylvanian Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi said the legalisation issue "deserves a serious look," whilst Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati commented: "Authorization of online gambling in the state will be explored."
The Econsult report, titled "The Current Condition and Future Viability of Casino Gambling in Pennsylvania," was released Wednesday by the General Assembly's Legislative Budget and Finance Committee.
Online Casino News Courtesy of Infopowa