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Can Pennsylvania Do Online Gambling Better Than New Jersey?

Dealers ready the craps table for a game at the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, Pa., on July 16, 2010
Dealers ready the craps table for a game at the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, Pa., on July 16, 2010Photograph by Bradley C. Bower/Bloomberg

Pennsylvania is becoming a flash point in the fight over online gambling. Last year the state ordered up a report on the state’s flagging casino industry, and on Wednesday the analysis predicted that legalizing online gambling could bring $307 million in casino revenue annually (PDF). A state representative tried to preempt any such plans in February by introducing a bill that would begin punishing people who gamble online, in a move that was immediately hailed by the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling, run by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

Pennsylvania’s interest in computerized gambling comes largely from the flagging fortunes of its physical casinos. American gambling institutions are suffering from a glut in the market, and Pennsylvania is no different. Revenues for the state’s casino industry dropped slightly last year and signs point to that trend continuing.