Game-Changing Shifts In NY And PA Mean Now’s The Time To Act On Online Gambling

Posted on March 6, 2017

[toc]Last year it felt like online gaming expansion at the state level might have stalled. In the past month, however, the possibility of not one but two states regulating iGaming in 2017 seems like a very real possibility.

Here are all the updates and headlines you need to know about state-regulated online gambling as well as how to make your voice heard in the battleground states of New York and Pennsylvania.

New York iGaming bill gaining traction

The doors have barely opened on the new commercial casinos in upstate New York and the state is already looking to fast-track gambling expansion online.

There have been efforts to bring iPoker to New York previously.

This effort is getting more attention because the chairman of the Racing and Wagering Committee J. Gary Pretlow recently changed his tune about online gaming in a lengthy interview with F1OS1.

In the interview, Pretlow explained he met with New Jersey regulators and was persuaded the issues which concerned him, like underage gambling, had been adequately addressed by NJ online casinos.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office expressed initial skepticism about online gaming  expansion.

If you are a New Yorker and would like to voice your support of gambling expansion measures, you can do so here.

Pennsylvania holding gambling expansion hearing this week

New York is not the only state seriously considering online gaming.

Pennsylvania’s efforts to bring iGaming to the Keystone State is moving ahead with a joint hearing of Senate and House committees about what those measures would entail. The hearing is set for Tuesday, March 7.

Pundits say the Pennsylvania online gaming industry could become a billion-dollar endeavor. This could be just the lifeline the state needs after casino tax revenue laws changed last year.

With budget shortfalls forecasted across the state, now is the time to act and let local lawmakers know you support PA online gambling regulation.

Sheldon Adelson exiting Keystone State

News of possible online gaming expansion may be one factor which explains the recent speculation the Sands Bethlehem Casino Resort is being sold.

Sands chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson is a notorious opponent of iGaming.

Departing the state in advance of online gaming legislation makes sense if his company does not intend to participate. Moreover, a buyer like MGM Resorts International could benefit from getting into the market with a brick and mortar acquisition.

Another reason behind the sale could also be the unionization of Sands Bethlehem security guards. This is the first time an organization within Sands has successfully unionized.

Much like online gambling, unions are another enemy of Adelson and the Sands Corporation.

Casino sales dominate New Jersey headlines

The rumors are still just starting about who will buy the Sands, but the conjecture MGM will expand into New Jersey is growing louder.

More specifically, MGM is looking to enter the burgeoning online poker and casino market either through its own casino, the Borgata, in the Garden State or by partnering with an existing casino.

The official sale of the week came when Carl Icahn announced he is selling the Taj Mahal property to Hard Rock International. Like MGM Resorts, Hard Rock had been trying to expand into the New Jersey casino market for a while.

This proves a perfect opportunity to do just that.

The booming NJ online gambling industry is pushing other states to give online gaming serious consideration. Steve Ruddock wrote an op-ed on why now it is more important than ever before to make your voice heard to lawmakers if this is an issue that matters to you.

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Jessica Welman

Jessica Welman has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and served as the managing editor for WSOP.com. A graduate of Indiana University and USC, Welman is not only a writer but also a producer. She can be found on Twitter @jesswelman.

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