Did you know that the very first casino to operate as a stand-alone in Pennsylvania was licensed in 2006? That applies to the licensing of real money poker. And with that progress on the poker gaming front came anxiety on the part of gaming commissions within the states of New Jersey as well as Delaware. Poker proceeded to become a serious pastime with twelve brick and mortar casinos opening within Keystone state park. Here, even betting places for real cash poker proceeded to open doors to the public.
Does that mean poker playing is as legal as any other business in Pennsylvania?
Poker playing within brick and mortar venues – the state poker law allows. Online poker playing – Pennsylvania is yet to permit that. Of course, it does not mean that residents of Pennsylvania do not play poker online. Many do engage in online poker on famous sites hosted elsewhere, where they often play games such as Texas Hold’em poker. Right now, the Pennsylvania gaming community remains hopeful that legislators pushing for legalizing of online poker will soon succeed. And the anticipation is greatest within the gaming community in Keystone state park where people are relatively liberal in their way of thinking. In fact, many here are already engaged in online gambling.
How serious have attempts been to legalize online poker within Pennsylvania?
Well, first of all, there was the online poker bill that was presented by Tina Pickett who was chair to the House Committee on Gaming Oversight. That happened in April of 2014. The gaming community was very hopeful that the bill would go through, but Tina herself had her reservations on the bill being passed before its expiry time which was end of that year. She was, however, determined to resume pushing for this long awaited poker law in 2015.
2015 is here – how is the state poker law in Pennsylvania now?
On the legal front, online poker in Pennsylvania is in a state of wait-and-see. Nobody seems to know how quickly online poker will be legalized or if online gambling will be legalized at all. The only significant development that brings a glimmer of hope is the success the state of New Jersey has had with the online poker market once they legalized the online gaming. New Jersey being in the neighbourhood of Pennsylvania, there is likelihood that Pennsylvania may wish to borrow a leaf and make online poker legal.
Any signs legislators are considering legalizing online gambling?
Well, even before the effort shown by Tina Pickett, there was some study that legislators had commissioned towards end of 2013, and that was meant to reveal the state of gambling and betting within the state of Pennsylvania. The firm bestowed the onus was Econsult Solutions. That makes it clear that there is still a good number of lawmakers who hold the opinion that online gambling would be good for the local economy.
Is there hope of the state online poker law being passed soon?
Actually, if legislators think that legalizing online poker will bolster the economy, they are likely to support the passing of its bill overwhelmingly. And going by the report by Econsult, the situation is encouraging. Econsult found that online poker was capable of bringing the state of Pennsylvania a whopping $300 million in annual gross revenues from activities related to poker gaming. If this forecast were to come true, then it means that Pennsylvania would be ahead of its neighbor, New Jersey in revenue gains from online poker. In general, whereas Pennsylvania is yet to put its state online poker law in place, a lot that is happening gives indication that legislation is, very likely, just around the corner.