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Fierce Debate on Online Gambling in Pennsylvania

Fierce Debate on Online Gambling in Pennsylvania

The debate surrounding online gambling is reaching new heights in Pennsylvania. At present the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee is preparing a report into the potential impact of online gambling and they are due to complete it by May.

However, in the meantime state legislators are beginning to express their own opinions and take sides.

Governor Tom Corbett has proposed a $29.4 billion spending plan for 2014-15 which would rely on tavern gaming, keno, a dozen state casinos, six horse-racing tracks and a lottery. Corbett’s spokesman, Jay Pagni, said that they are looking “for ways to generate revenues without going back to hard-working families through tax increases.”

However, other legislators, such as Rep. Mario Scavello, are firmly against online gambling and would like to see online gamblers fined and jailed. Scavello has outlined a plan which would see first time offenders fined up to $300 and jailed for 90 days, and second time offenders would be fined $2,500 and face a year in jail.

If Gov. Corbett is relying heavily on gaming revenues for his budget then online gaming may become a necessity. The budget deadline is four months away, and with the report on online gambling due in two months, legislators will not have much time to decide which side of the argument they want to adopt.

OCA News Editor

Jenny McKinnley is OCA’s financial correspondent. After spending years on the trading floor in both NY and London, she offers insight from the inside out on world financial news and events.