Is Online Gambling the Solution to Pennsylvania's Budget Impasse?Published September 29, 2017 by Elana K
The Pennsylvania Senate has put the kibosh on the recently-introduced revenue plan from Republican lawmakers, bringing the state to a budget impasse and an official credit downgrade.
The Pennsylvania Senate has put the kibosh on the recently-introduced revenue plan from Republican lawmakers. The plan had been approved by the House but has now come to a full halt, bringing the state to a budget impasse and an official credit downgrade for the government.
The Republicans' bill attempted to garner the $2.3 billion owed by the state government from a hodgepodge of sources, including special government accounts with high, unused balances, court settlements, unspent funds from previous yearly budgets, legislative surpluses, and the like.
The Senate’s rejection of the bill came as no surprise, given that this so-called “Taxpayer’s Budget” would only provide a temporary fix, drawing money from one-time sources, without actually addressing and fixing the problem of the state’s overspending. The bill lost in a 43 to 7 vote.
The Obvious Answer
Pennsylvania has been simultaneously dealing with a budget shortfall for months as well as the question of legalizing online gambling. While the two may seem unrelated on paper, they are actually heavily intertwined. Legalizing and regulating online gambling could be the long-term solution the state needs in order to fix its billion-dollar deficit. There have so far been two gaming bills that were introduced, but they never moved forward due to intentional vagueness, lack of details, and a simple lack of bipartisan support.
Should one of these bills lay out detailed provisions for online gambling, there is the chance that it could be approved. Gov. Tom Wolf seems to be on board in a vague and general way, but there also needs to be agreement on all sides about issues such as Video Gaming Terminals (VGTs), satellite casinos, casino tax rates, and more.
The question now remains - can the revenue plan can be sorted out without including the issue of iGaming, or is it integral to the solution? We will see what the Pennsylvania Senate and House have in store for us next week.