Legislators in the state of Pennsylvania forged ahead and made history with the legalization of online gambling in its state. Surprisingly, there was not much resistance to the bill when it was passed with a majority vote, sealing the bill’s passage on its way to becoming law. It isn’t all smooth sailing though, as June sees opportunities for amendments to be applied to the bill before it is finally passed.
What this piece of legislation does is make easier the task of setting up an online gambling presence for companies in the state of Pennsylvania, and it sets out some clear guidelines and rules for these entities to follow so that they do not fall foul of the law. There are a few potential benefits for local businesses, that is if the equipment such as servers and hosting facilities, can be secured by local providers and companies. If these services are outsourced to other regions, it means that any additional tax revenue, or potential employment benefits for the local population, may not materialize. There is no clarity at this point on where the hosting will take place from, but we are expecting more details as the bill continues its journey to the senate.
The incentives for local authorities are obvious, with massive revenue generation being at its core. The bill also allows for the state to run and operate its own online lottery games and sports betting ventures. This is perhaps why the bill seemingly came out of left field and caught many by surprise. It has been speculated that the more uniform adoption of online gaming across the world may have gone a long way towards softening the perception of online gambling in the US, which would explain the bill’s easier ride this time around.
One of the primary functions of the bill is to act as an additional revenue stream for the state, but instead of funds being channeled elsewhere, it is thought by some that there is a chance that tax breaks may be one of the intended consequences of this additional income source, but nothing has been set in stone at this point.
It isn’t clear in what form the bill may take once it is ready to be passed before the house. But one thing is clear, now more than ever, local government needs to take a creative approach to revenue collection as tax payers are under pressures as it is. This means that an alternative income source is key for the state to be able to continue running at the required levels, and to provide essential services and to maintain infrastructure. By passing the bill they may allow citizens to partake in the online gambling activities, while increasing state income at the same time. Either way you look at it, we have a win-win situation, which is a great way to resolve this outstanding issue hopefully once and for all.