It’s time for Pennsylvania lawmakers to step up to the plate and pass an internet gambling bill, says John Pappas. The executive director of the Poker Players Alliance understands that it’s crunch time and something needs to happen fast if the bill is to pass before 2016 comes to an end.
Heading into the year, many experts projected the Keystone State would pass online poker legislation in 2016. But, like every gambling bill proposed in America, this one has been met by strong opposition from lawmakers who believe online gambling offers more problems than solutions to their state’s populace.
The state senate agreed on a budget that included $100 million in revenue from internet gambling. But here we are, just days from the final 2016 senate session, and the bill hasn’t yet passed. And Friday is the last day of this year for that to happen.
Pappas, in an op-ed for PennLive this week, is urging lawmakers to pass the bill right away so that the $100 million is covered and poker players’ rights are protected.
“Doing nothing about regulating online gaming in Pennsylvania is not an option, consumers and taxpayers have waited long enough. Each and every day that the Commonwealth goes without regulation is another day that consumers are left unprotected and revenue is left on the table,” he wrote.
All the Cool Kids are Doing It
Pappas’ plea to Pennsylvania lawmakers concluded with an example of a neighboring state that has legalized online poker.
“Look no further than to New Jersey to see that a regulated iGaming system works for both the consumer and the state,” the poker lobbyist said.
Another nearby state, Delaware, has licensed and regulated online poker sites as well. If Pennsylvania passes legislation, perhaps more states in the area, such as New York or Ohio, will join the party. New York recently decided to reinstate daily fantasy sports sites, but shot down an internet poker bill. Daily fantasy sports alone were deemed a “game of skill.”
Pappas explained in detail in the op-ed why he believes the bill, sponsored by Rep. George Dunbar (R-Westmoreland), would benefit the state.
“It would allow the Commonwealth to corral the current unregulated marketplace and turn it into a system that is safe for consumers, accountable to regulators and beneficial to taxpayers, while also allowing trusted gaming companies to provide entertainment in a regulated environment,” he wrote.
Pappas, along with his fellow members of the PPA, has fought to get online poker legalized in many states, not just Pennsylvania. But with the Keystone State clearly being the next most likely to approve a gambling bill, his main focus recently has been on showing lawmakers the benefits of online gambling and encouraging poker players in the state to do the same.