Online Gambling Legislation Catching Some Lucky Breaks In PA, NY, WV

Written By Jessica Welman on March 19, 2017 - Last Updated on April 15, 2020

[toc]Perhaps it was the luck of the Irish working its magic on St. Patrick’s Day, but this week, online gambling proponents had lots to celebrate. Perhaps it isn’t luck, though.

New online casino legislation in West Virginia and movement in the New York Senate indicates the tides might be shifting nationally when it comes to online gambling.

Pennsylvania appears to be losing a major opponent to its online casino legislation. There are also more positive numbers coming out of New Jersey which indicate online casinos are not killing brick and mortar casino companies–they are saving them.

Here is the scoop on all those stories and the other major headlines from the week:

Pennsylvania could be losing an online gambling opponent

The news is not official, but it seems safe to presume the rumored $1.3 billion sale of Sands Bethlehem Resort Casino to MGM Resorts International is going to go through.

The sale is good news for online casino supporters in the state since it means Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson will be exiting the market. Adelson is a staunch opponent of online poker and casino games. His exit could be the difference maker in legalizing online gambling in Pennsylvania.

State Sen. Pat Browne represents the casino’s district and says he would consider rescinding his opposing stance on online casinos if the new owners of the property supported the measure.

MGM is a proponent of online poker and casinos.

The sale will also mean changes for Sands Bethlehem’s customer base. The good news is the MGM customer loyalty program extends across all MGM properties around the world. The Sands loyalty program was specific to the single property.

Projected revenue for the PA online gambling market here.

Optimism growing for online poker in New York

Pennsylvania is on the verge of passing online casino and poker legislation, but it is not the only state where online gambling could become a reality this year.

New York is getting closer to possibly pushing iPoker through. The tea leaves indicate it is becoming more of a possibility.

The latest good news for New York online poker supporters is that the state Senate budget includes money from online poker tax revenue. That version of the budget was approved this week. The next step is getting the state Assembly to agree on a budget by the end of the month.

After that, Gov. Andrew Cuomo will need to sign off on the budget as well. His office has previously been skeptical about online poker for fear it will cannibalize existing brick and mortar casinos in the state.

The good news for Cuomo is the new upstate casinos are faring well so far. Three of the four new properties are up and running, and they’ve already generated over $13 million in gambling tax revenue so far this year.

Early protections indicate the properties are on pace to meet projected revenue for 2017.

Now West Virginia considering online gaming, too

The latest state to consider online gaming regulation is West Virginia. A new bill in the House of Delegates proposes regulated and licensed online poker and online casino games.

The bill proposes a system which would allow existing brick and mortar casinos to offer any game currently offered on property online. The casinos will be allowed to partner with technology providers, but those providers, like PokerStars, are not allowed to use any brand but the casinos’.

The sponsor of the bill is Delegate Shawn Fluharty. He is also the sponsor of a bill to regulate and legalize sports betting in the state.

New Jersey casino revenues saved by online gambling in February

It is no wonder states are starting to more seriously consider online casinos. New Jersey, one of three states with regulated online gambling, continues to thrive thanks to NJ online casino expansion.

Overall online casino revenue for February was up 26.9 percent over 2016 to $18.6 million in earnings. Most of the revenue stems from online casinos, but online poker continues to hold steady, too.

Golden Nugget set another benchmark for highest revenue in a single month with over $5.1 million.

Image credit: Savvapanf Photo /

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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 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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