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Legalized online gaming, meanwhile, remains an alluring option for lawmakers seeking to triage the deficit without resorting to tax hikes.
In the meantime, the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee is studying the potential effect of online gambling on Pennsylvania's casinos and state tax collections. While the discord between Pennsylvania’s democratic governor and the heavily Republican legislation has not been good for budget negotiations, it might be good news for interests who would like to see online gambling in the state. One of the easy ways to generate revenue would appear to be the introduction of online gambling, which has not been very contentious in the legislature, at least as a general idea, if not in its actual implementation.
An unscientific poll posted at Lehigh Valley Live shows that 80 percent of respondents are in favor of online gambling. Republicans seem to be behind the bill, at least in concept, as leadership in both houses have supported online gambling legislation.
While it is true that online gaming can bring revenue to governments without having to directly raise individual taxes, the rate is something that must be seriously considered in any discussion about the sustainability of the market. Online casinos in Pennsylvania could also be forced to lower video poker returns to players to help pay for the extraordinary tax rate. The difference between Nevada and New Jersey can already be seen in an online poker comparison.
The low player retention rate and high cost of acquisition compared to net revenue will make it very challenging for Pennsylvania online poker sites to subsist, let alone profit. While some unlicensed online poker rooms and casinos may leave Pennsylvania if regulation occurs, some will not.

John is a writer for multiple online poker publications and is the author of the popular Online Poker Payment Processing Report. While the state has already collected the “low-hanging fruit” with casinos that offer slots and table games, Internet gambling — or iGaming — would offer the most potential of new gambling revenue streams, said Stephen Mullin, president of Econsult Solutions, the firm that assisted the committee in the study. That didn’t stop the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling from splashing cold water on Internet gaming even before the report was released Wednesday. The Garden State initially projected online gaming could bring as much as $180 million in new tax revenue, but now expects just $12 million this year, according to the Associated Press. The topic will be a point of discussion between now and June, Pileggi said, indicating lawmakers would have to answer questions about what sort of model of Internet gambling might fit. To operate within the state, online casinos would need to partner with brick-and-mortar operations. Senators on the CERD still seemed to have serious questions about Ward’s bill, and seven casinos recently came out against SB900, which is a wide-ranging gaming bill that includes internet gambling. Tom Corbett seeking ways to plug a projected budget deficit, they are considering expanding lottery gambling and, possibly, legalizing online gambling. Tom Wolf vetoed a Republican-backed budget proposal on Tuesday, perhaps giving new life to efforts to legalize and regulate online gambling in the state.
Movement on any of the five bills that would regulate online gambling had come to a halt previously, and new gaming measures had not been included in the spending bill sent to the governor’s desk.
Both Democrats and Republicans have introduced bills that would regulate online gambling, with the frontrunner to advance coming in the form of Sen.

A proposed tax rate of 54 percent is far too high and would need to be reduced to make online gambling viable in the state. Some politicians see online gaming as a way to generate instant tax revenue from an activity that already occurs without any oversight. This would be the highest online gaming tax rate in the world for regulated commercial online gambling. A day before, the coalition had already pointed to a cautionary tale in New Jersey, where online gambling revenues haven fallen drastically short of initial expectations. Minors could also find ways through security systems to reach an online poker table, he said.
As we move forward, authorization of online gambling in the state will be explored,” Scarnati said in a statement.
While critics say online gaming would lead to cannibalization in the marketplace, analysts have said the arrangement would be mutually beneficial.
While online gaming regulation would certainly help the deficit problem of coming years, it’s not clear if that budget relief will come from iGaming in 2015. Between licensing fees and taxes, online gambling has the potential to add tens of millions to hundreds of millions to state coffers, depending on the estimate you side with.

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