It’s been a long-time coming, but since the end of April, casinos in Pennsylvania have been able to petition to offer their games online. Alas, despite this great step forward, it seems as though some of these casinos are trying everything possible to undermine the laws and regulatory standings of the state, even though they have only just been brought into practice.
Of course, the criticisms from the casinos are not without their merit. Several policies relating to online casino operations in Pennsylvania are quite ludicrous when you look at them. For example, the fact that there’s a 54% tax rate when it comes to the revenue from online slots. Or, the inclusion of the law that states online gambling is not allowed within land-based casinos. Other items that have been met with criticism include the fact that customers can only have a single account per operating platform and that all skins have to be accessible via a form of sub-domain of the licence holder.
While those who brought these laws into effect claim that they simply have the state’s best interests in mind, the policies do seem to stifle the industry somewhat. In the long run, such limitations are sure to affect the online gambling sector, as well as its revenue – and that received by the government in taxes – and potentially harm the land-based casinos in Pennsylvania.
A Closer Look at the Policies
Slot games tend to be the most popular online game, so it’s unsurprising that it has the highest amount of tax on revenue. However, standing at 54% is quite ludicrous, while table games and poker only have a 16% tax rate to pay. The latter sectors are in line with industry averages, but the inflated slot revenue tax is a cause for concern. Take a look at New Jersey, where slot gaming accounts for about 70% of online revenue. Therefore, Pennsylvania could pretty much be chopping itself off at the knees with this.
On the other hand, the same types of issues were brought up when it comes to the land-based casinos in the state. Back in 2004, they also had a 54% tax rate slapped on them but have managed to make things work out. Alas, land-based and online casinos are two very different areas.
Even though the tax rate for slots is high, it still manages to make much more sense than the policy of prohibiting players from online gambling in land-based establishments. The idea behind this is, once again, to protect the revenue of land-based casinos – although, this problem does not actually exist anywhere. Instead, this serves as nothing more than a rule that will not doubt see online revenue decrease.
Some gamers have the preference of accessing online gaming while waiting for a table to become spare in a land-based casino or while they’re having a drink at the bar, for example. Not allowing this could have repercussions, because what better way to invite people to enjoy your online offerings than while they’re visiting your physical casino? Gamblers then have the ability to take the games home with them, so to speak. If they don’t have the option of checking things out while visiting your land-based establishment, then why would they even bother at home?