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Could Possible Sale Of Pennsylvania Casino Improve Chances Of Web Poker Legalization In State?

Sheldon Adelson Might Not Longer Have Casino Presence In State

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Las Vegas Sands Corp. is discussing a possible sale of its casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania with potential buyer Tropicana Entertainment, Inc., according to reports.

Could that deal, if it happened, help the online poker cause in the state?

Sands is owned by billionaire casino boss Sheldon Adelson, who has promised to spend lavishly to fight the spread of online gaming in the United States. In the coming weeks, Pennsylvania will release its findings from a much-anticipated gambling study, one that will include a look at the potential impact of Internet betting in the commonwealth.

Pennsylvania probably won’t legalize this year, but the study could pave the way for it having a decent shot of authorizing web gambling in 2015. No state in the United States is actually a favorite to legalize any form of real-money wagering during this calendar year.

If the rumored negotiations between Sands and Tropicana work out, and the property is no longer owned by Adelson, it’s reasonable to think that it could clear a potential roadblock for online poker legalization there. After all, Adelson would no longer have “skin in the game,” as one gaming industry expert put it to Card Player in an interview earlier this year.

The idea behind it is simple. If Adelson doesn’t have a casino presence in a state, he probably would be less likely to impact online gaming discussions there. Getting out of the brick-and-mortar casino market in Pennsylvania might give his coalition less pull in Harrisburg.

It’s unclear if Adelson has had any effect, to date, on Internet gaming talks there.

Pennsylvania not long ago overtook neighboring New Jersey in terms of gaming revenue, but New Jersey does now have an Internet gaming industry. It’s still too early to gauge the success of the Garden State’s online games, which began just this past November.

In addition to potentially impacting matters on a state level, Adelson’s camp is supporting efforts by two federal lawmakers for a nationwide prohibition on Internet betting.