Pennsylvania Lawmakers Reject Gambling Expansion Bill
A bill that was to allow slot machines in Pennsylvania’s three international airports was rejected this week by House lawmakers.
The bill, HB 271, was voted down by a 112 – 79 margin. However, it has been “re-reported” after there was unanimous support for amendments. It was initially introduced in January.
Placing slot machines in airports for travellers to play on is just one of a number of gambling expansion proposals currently being considered by legislators.
They are also considering allows bars and taverns throughout the state to house gambling machines. However, the proposals have been met with considerably resistance from the casino industry.
Nonetheless, ten of the state’s twelve casinos are supporting a different gambling expansion plan that would allow internet casino gaming. In total there are three online gambling proposals being considered.
Last year an online gambling bill passed in a House vote but the Senate later rejected it.
The key issue at the heart of the conflicts with the industry is that Pennsylvania is the second largest commercial casino market in the country. Keystone State casinos take over $3 billion a year from gamblers but the market has been stagnant around that level for about six years.
Last month PlayPennsylvania released research that showed that the Keystone State online gambling market would grow to be worth $364 million by 2022.
Lawmakers in the state need to cope with a rapidly expanding gambling market in the neighbouring state of New York as well as new casinos in the states of Massachusetts and Maryland. Furthermore, Connecticut and New Hampshire are also considering expanding their gambling industries.