Pennsylvania Budget Woes Push Online Gambling to the Side

Published October 11, 2017 by Elana K

Pennsylvania Budget Woes Push Online Gambling to the Side

Once Pennsylvania's budget deficit is resolved, lawmakers will be calm enough to move on to the issue of online gambling.

It seems as though the Pennsylvania budget saga has been dragging on for forever - and now, thanks to a tumultuous session in the House this past Wednesday, it’s about to drag on even longer. During that session, the House experienced an epic fail in passing the state's budget, leaving Pennsylvania in the same stalemate it was in before.

The House’s failure to pass a budget plan is somewhat of a surprise, since both Republicans and Democrats have been working tirelessly (and rather desperately) to come up with a plan that’s amenable to both sides. The current budget deficit is a whopping $2 billion, and Pennsylvania already suffered a credit rating downgrade last month.

A Short-Term Plan

Governor Tom Wolf blamed House Republicans for the stalemate on the budget plan and offered up a somewhat impromptu plan that involves trying to securitize profits from the state’s liquor system, which could potentially raise $1.25 billion. The issue with this solution is that it’s fairly short-term, and won’t solve the long-term issue of Pennsylvania's being overstretched.

What Does This Mean for Online Gambling?

Pennslyvania lawmakers have said in the past that they want to have a budget plan in place before discussing online gambling, even though the latter could be the solution for the former. For now, the House and Senate are breaking until October 16, and when they resume, they will presumably pick up the issue of the budget, despite Wolf’s proposed plan. (His plan could take at least two months to implement, which means that in the interim, perhaps lawmakers will come to some sort of an agreement.)

The good news is that House Majority Leader Dave Reed has hinted that Republicans will support an online gambling initiative when the time comes, but no promises have been made. For now, sealing a budget plan is Pennsylvania's main task, and once it’s settled, everyone will be calm enough to move on to the issue of online gambling.

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