There are currently 10 states in America that are in seriously considering the possibilities of legalizing online poker. California and Pennsylvania are two such states who appear to be at the forefront of making a decision in favour of legalizing online poker.
On the 7th of May, Pennsylvania’s General Assembly’s Legislative Budget and Finance Committee released a report that was over 200 pages that provided an in-depth analysis of how online poker could benefit the state of Pennsylvania in the coming years. The study revealed that the online poker market was extremely lucrative and is predicted to get even better with the passing of time.
Pennsylvania which has a population of close to 13 million people could generate around $129 million in annual revenue. The report stated that Pennsylvania could benefit immensely by legalizing online poker as it would generate an estimate of $307 million in ongoing revenues which would result in annual tax revenues of $113 million. The report also confirmed that estimated revenues from online casino games will be around $178 million and online poker would generate around $129 million. The report also went on to analyze other markets such as fantasy sports, prediction markets, sports betting, slots in airports and small games of chance.
Pennsylvania is considered to be the country’s second largest casino market after Nevada. The state currently has 12 casinos that experienced significant growth between 2006 and 2012 before tapering off in 2013. The total tax revenue generated from gaming in 2013 was $1.38 billion when compared to $1.44 billion and in 2012, a drop of 4%.
The report suggested that there were three major reasons for a decline in tax revenues. A stagnation of slot revenues across the nation, strong competition from neighbouring states and a drop in tax rate for tables games from 14% to 12% after 2 years of operations.
Pennsylvania grew rapidly as it successfully managed to poach a large group of players from neighbouring states like West Virginia, New Jersey and Delaware. Now, the tables have turned and states like New York, Ohio and Maryland are poaching players from Pennsylvania.
However, Pennsylvania is positive that the markets will improve and plans for a new casino in Philadelphia are currently under process. That being said, it is highly unlikely the Pennsylvania will legalize online poker in 2014. Currently only Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey have legalized online poker.