A number of Pennsylvania lawmakers are intent on keeping pace with New Jersey with regard to gambling availability both live and online.
That includes a new look at perhaps introducing an online gambling proposal in the 2014 legislative session. But according to a Quinnipiac Poll, the constituents that those lawmakers represent are not in favor of an online poker and gambling scheme.
A recent survey of voters found that 62% do not approve of online gambling in Pennsylvania. The number of ‘aye’ votes in favor of expanding gambling to the Internet came in at 33%, CBS reported.
Whether state legislators heed the poll results remains to be seen. Eight months ago, Rep. Tina Davis introduced an online gambling bill before the legislature that failed to gain any traction. Following the proposal’s lack of movement, it was believed that Pennsylvania would take a wait and see approach while observing New Jersey’s newly-regulated Internet gambling regime.
But just two weeks ago, that wait and see plan was shelved in favor of studying the viability of online gaming. An overwhelming majority of Pennsylvania lawmakers voted in favor of Senate Resolution 273, which aims to study the effects of Internet gambling.
Of greatest concern is the possibility of declining revenue at land-based casinos should residents prefer the convenience of mouse clicks on the Internet over fighting traffic to get to the casino. The entire industry eagerly awaits results from New Jersey regulators to see how Atlantic City casinos are faring since the state launched its Internet gambling regime late last month.
Pennsylvania took over the no. 2 spot in land-based casino gaming revenue behind Nevada over the last year. New Jersey had long been entrenched in that position until casinos started popping up in Pennsylvania. In fact, one of the reasons that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie approved online gambling legislation in February was to make up for some of the loss felt at the brick and mortar casinos.
Additional results from the poll indicate that Pennsylvanians approve of gambling in the state as it is now by a margin of 55% to 37%. Seven out of 10 residents do not want any more casinos and 57% are opposed to having land-based gaming in the town where they reside.
The survey indicates that a majority voters would like gambling to remain as it is presently. But declining revenues are always looked at unfavorably by lawmakers and Pennsylvania is feeling the heat from gambling expansion in Ohio, Maryland and New York.