Poker Players Alliance Calls For Untangling Of Online Gambling, Video Gaming Terminals In PA

May 29, 2016
online gambling vote Pennsylvania confusion

The Poker Players Alliance is making its best case for legal online gambling and poker in Pennsylvania, with an op-ed at one of the most-read PA news sites.

It’s also advocating for a provision that would allow more video gaming terminals to be kept away from an effort to legalize iGaming.

PA online poker at Penn Live

Online poker is back on the radar in PA, and the PPA is ramping up its advocacy efforts in kind.

That includes the recent op-ed from Judah Rosenstein, Pennsylvania state director for the PPA.

In his piece, Rosenstein outlines the argument of why online poker and gambling should be legal and regulated in the state. For example:

It makes no sense to allow unregulated offshore markets to thrive when state regulation would replace illegal operators with licensed Pennsylvania-based companies that have been thoroughly vetted and approved by state regulatory agencies.

VGTs could derail it all

The debate over the expansion of video gaming terminals in the state — namely allowing them in taverns and private clubs — threatens to derail online gambling and the rest of the gambling expansion package the legislature is considering.

Online gambling recently came back on the legislature’s agenda this month when a massive gambling expansion — online gambling included — unexpectedly came up before the House.

A pair of amendments — both containing online gambling, but only one with VGTs — were defeated this past week. Both are still alive, however, after some procedural wrangling.

But the VGT provision, while it could make it out of the House, could be the death knell of online gambling in the Senate, if it is passed.

PA casinos are vehemently against VGTs expansion, and their lobbying effort in the Senate would likely shoot VGTs down, and the rest of the legislation with it.

The PPA knows the path to online gambling diverges from VGTs

Casinos and the PPA are basically on the same page: Authorize online gambling and poker, but don’t tie it to VGTs.

More from Rosenstein, on the VGT effort:

And, I would urge the Legislature to thoroughly review and debate the merits of this expanded gaming opportunity, just as it did for iGaming over the past several years.

But it should not be force fed to lawmakers in a way that threatens the viability of iGaming consumer protection that must be addressed now.

Will VGTs stay in the mix, and scuttle the possibility of PA online casinos down the road? Stay tuned.

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