May 7, 2014

Joint Budget & Finance Committee Releases Report Evaluating The Future Of Gaming

The Joint Legislative Budget and Finance Committee Wednesday released a report on the current condition and future viability of casino gaming in Pennsylvania authorized by Senate Resolution 273 (Scarnati-R-Jefferson).
Among other findings, the report said authorizing online gaming would generate ongoing revenues of $307 million annually.  Other opportunities discussed in the report for expanded gaming include sports betting, fantasy sports, prediction markets, small games of chance and slots in airports.
Other conclusions from the report are:
-- Pennsylvania faces competition from gaming in other states, including: Ohio- 11 casinos by 2013, Maryland- 3 additional casinos in 2014, New York 4 additional casinos in 2017.
-- Pennsylvania could generate an additional $215 million in revenue going forward if the remaining racino and stand-alone casino licenses are issued.
-- Pennsylvania casinos face in-state competition, particularly in the Philadelphia area with the SugarHouse (Philadelphia) and Harrah’s (Chester) casinos the most vulnerable.
President Pro Tempore of the Senate Joe Scarnati who sponsored the resolution, said in a statement: “In December of 2013 I introduced Senate Resolution 273, which received overwhelming bipartisan support to direct the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to study the current condition and future viability of gaming in Pennsylvania.  
“The LBFC conducted thorough research and partnered with Econsult Solutions to provide us with a gaming study report that provides well thought out recommendations for the future development of gaming in the Commonwealth.
“It has become clear that Pennsylvania casinos are facing increasing competition from our surrounding states, some of which have begun to utilize new and innovative gaming revenue generators.  As we move forward, authorization of online gambling in the state will be explored.   
“Funding from the gaming industry has been used to benefit Pennsylvania residents by providing property tax relief to homeowners, sustaining the state’s horse racing industry, enhancing economic development and offering aid to local governments, police and emergency services, as well as easing the increasing strain on the Commonwealth’s general fund budget.
“Over the next several weeks, I look forward to working with Governor Corbett and my colleagues in the General Assembly to closely examine the report and recommendations, to determine how we can build on these successes and work to both maintain and improve the gaming industry in our Commonwealth in a responsible manner.”
Click Here for the full report.  Click Here for a summary.