That includes Gov. Tom Wolf, who fielded a question about online poker and gambling during a recent interview.
What Wolf said about PA online gambling
Wolf, speaking during a Q&A on Facebook Live, took a question from the Poker Players Alliance about legislation dealing with iGaming.
Wolf didn’t have to field the question, at all, if he didn’t want to. So the fact that he did is perhaps the most significant thing to note here.
The comments came after Wolf included new revenue from gambling in his proposed budget, without saying online gambling would be a part of any package, directly.
Here’s what he said:
I think there is real work being done in the General Assembly as to what enhanced gambling — including online gambling, including possibly online poker — would look like moving forward.
The deal is that whatever we do on this enhanced gaming, it should not take business away from our casinos or the lottery. Otherwise why would we do it? Because we’re already getting revenues from that. It should be something that could be implemented cleanly, and the oversight we could do without being really that intrusive.
There are a lot of details that have to go into this. I know other states have done online poker and have done it successfully. We need to keep learning from what we can from those states.
Watch his comments here:
Lobbyists are lobbying on online gambling
A new report from GamblingCompliance (paywall) showed that online gambling is indeed a front burner item in the state.
GC’s report said that lobbyists representing Sands Bethlehem warned that federal law could be changed to make online gambling illegal under President Donald Trump.
While that’s at least possible, it’s perhaps not likely that there will be a change from the Trump administration regarding iGaming. Lobbyists for PA casinos that would like to see online gambling legalized pushed back against that angle.
Regardless of what was said, the push and pull of lobbyists on both sides point to the fact that online gambling is very much a part of the debate regarding new revenue and gambling expansions in the state.
Meanwhile casinos, state both could use revenue
The backdrop of the discussions regarding PA online casinos is simple: Money.
The state is trying to dig itself out of a budget mess, and it seems clear gambling will be a part of the equation.
At the same time, the state is trying to stave off several months of dipping revenue from land-based casinos. Online casinos would clearly help the bottom line of nearly all operators in the state.