The state Senate’s top leader predicted Friday that the Senate next week will eliminate a controversial provision in Pennsylvania’s gambling law that requires suppliers to sell slot machines to gambling casinos.
“The bottom line is there’s a very, very good chance the Senate will abolish the distributorships,” Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Jubelirer, R-Altoona, said in an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
While proponents say using middlemen to sell machines will create business in the state, critics say it opens the potential for patronage and criminal activity. Jubelirer, a slots opponent, said he doubts the Senate would approve other major changes, such as reallocating licenses for 14 casinos.
Legislative and industry sources have been speculating this week that House Minority Whip Mike Veon, D-Beaver Falls, through his caucus’s Gaming Control Board appointee, former state Rep. Jeffrey Coy, is holding up the process of board-awarded supplier licenses as leverage to obtain a casino in Beaver County.
Speculation intensified Monday after a Commonwealth Court ruling virtually killed the chance of a harness track along Route 60 in Beaver County and boosted the odds for a track in Lawrence County.
Many Capitol insiders then predicted that Veon might try to change the law next week as legislators consider amendments to the two-year-old slots gambling law. The speculation focused on attempts to give the gambling board discretion to reallocate a stand-alone casino license for Beaver County.
“It would be highly controversial whether he could get that done,” Jubelirer told the Trib. “It would be very difficult to achieve that.” An avid gambling supporter, Veon was a key player in drafting the slots
The Senate reconvenes after the long Labor Day weekend in the US and the anti-internet gambling bill is a steamy hot issue they will face upon returning. The bill gained some serious momentum after a hearing at Coe College was led by bill leaders Bill Frist and Jim Leach, both Republicans.
With the amount of heated support by the two it makes one wonder whether this is just a political issue they are supporting for politics sake, while having no merit to what the majority of the public really wants.
Frist and Leach are gaining quite a bit of recognition from people who had previously never heard of them before. They are getting stronger support from people who already supported them. There seems to be good reason why the two of them are promoting the bill so vehemently.
Many polls have been taken over the past several months, some on gambling websites which of course would be biased, but others from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and other respected publications. All, that means every single poll, overwhelmingly reveal that the American public would like internet gambling to be legalized, not illegalized. Most opinion polls agree there are problems, however, most agree the answer is to regulate, not to ban.
88 other countries, including the UK and France, have legalized internet gambling. Italy, one of the only larger countries to actually ban the activity, faced serious protests from its citizens and is currently in the process of reinstating online gambling.
Leach and Frist make long mention in every speech they make against online gambling siting the college boy who lost his life savings then robbed a bank in order to pay off his debt. They also mention five known suicides as a result of adults losing their money to online gambling. And their last argument is that children can gamble with their parents’ credit cards too easily online.
Leach and Frist never seem to mention the millions, we are talking more than 6,000,000 unique people, a year who gamble online for their entertainment purposes WITHOUT any harm done. They seem to site the couple hundred people who have let ‘online gambling go bad’ while they disregard the other 5,999,457 instances where people actually harmlessly enjoy a night on their computer, interacting with other adults who enjoy playing the same poker game that they do.
This bill, though, has many more obstacles it must confront before passing. The main obstacle it has to overcome is the world of banking. Passing the bill would put a huge burdern on the banking systems of America. The bill would make it illegal to transfer funds via a bank or credit card online to gambling operations. That means the banks would have to monitor this somehow, and if they fail to monitor it correctly they will be held liable. The banks are equally opposed to this bill.
Another side of the bill says that if it is passed your ISP server will not be allowed to let you visit a gambling website. This means the ISP would have to decipher whether an online site is a gambling site or if it is not. Not being able to properly enforce this law would mean federal punishment for the ISP’s. Not wanting to face federal punishment, ISP’s would in turn not let you visit any site even remotely related to gambling, like Vegas or Atlantic City information sites, or even the CasinoGamblingWeb.com.
This is a long and complicated bill that most likely is all for show on an election year. However, it is news and we will follow the developments.