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Pennsylvania Waiting On Internet Poker Legalization

State Likely To Legalize One Day, But Not Anytime Too Soon


The state of Pennsylvania will likely one day offer online betting, but it won’t be anytime soon.

According to, William Ryan, chairman of the state Gaming Control Board said last week at a conference that he doesn’t “see any real groundswell right now for Internet gaming.”

Neighboring Delaware and New Jersey, which have both legalized the activity, are very close to launching their respective online gambling industries. Delaware will begin games this week, while New Jersey has a target date of Nov. 26.

What is more likely to happen soon in Pennsylvania in terms of gambling expansion would be, according to Ryan: “What we are seeing is far more interest in legislation that would give the thousands of bars and social clubs the authority to have small games of chance. The strength of the lobbying groups in those areas is probably greater. All of them have very close contacts to the representatives in both the House and the Senate.”

Efforts for that type of activity are moving through the legislature.

Back to Internet betting. The state has seen legislation that would authorize the activity, but it didn’t do too much this year. In April, a bill was introduced that would allow existing gambling facilities in the state to offer a wide-array of casino games, including poker.

Pennsylvania reportedly might be interested in waiting to see how the online gambling industries in other states run before embarking into the online space on its own.

“It may be that they will wait and see long enough to see how New Jersey makes it work and how much revenue can be produced and to see if there is going to be any damage done by [Internet gaming] to the brick-and-mortar casino industry,” Ryan said.

Pennsylvania is now the second most lucrative casino market in the country, last year overtaking New Jersey, which has a struggling Atlantic City.

The state now has 12 commercial casinos after legalizing them in 2004.