Competition Prompts Call To Study State Gaming Laws In Pa

11.13.13 | Bob Price

New competition from surrounding states and sluggish revenue reports are prompting a Senate Republican leader to seek a formal study of the future viability of Pennsylvania casinos. President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati, R-25, Jefferson County, is introducing a resolution to have the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee, a research arm, conduct the study. Depending upon legislative action, the study could occur during the 10th anniversary of the 2004 state law legalizing casinos in Pennsylvania. A legislative memo refers to the emergence of an "extremely competitive" gambling market in the Mid-Atlantic region as Pennsylvania's neighbors pursue new venues. Most notably, New York voters approved a ballot question last week to authorize the opening of new casinos beyond those in Native American reservations. The vote will allow as many as seven casinos to be built, including some potentially in the Catskill Mountains. Mr. Scarnati's memo was made public a day before the New York vote. The memo suggests that while Pennsylvania's 12 casinos have been a huge success, employing 16,000 and generating more than $6 billion in tax revenue from slot machines and table games for a variety of purposes, casino revenues have begun to stagnate or decline.