|Jan Jones and Ron Baumann testifying before Gaming Committee|
The hearing was provided with testimony from Jan Jones Blackhurst, executive vice president of Caesars Entertainment Group. Blackhurst told the committee members that online gambling is already prevalent in Pennsylvania and the rest of the country, even though it isn’t legal. Blackhurst stated,“Today’s reality is that Internet gambling is taking place in all 50 states, almost all of it illegally. It’s an environment that’s ripe for fraud and criminal activity and it provides no tax revenue. However, the online gambling experience in the states where it is legal, has been successful from a regulatory perspective. Minors can't gamble, the vulnerable are protected and consumer protections against fraud are in place." Ron Baumann, general manager of Harrah's Philadelphia ,also testified about the allowing Pennsylvania Casinos to increase agility and speed to market. Bauman also express interest in gaming tax credits that would be used as capital investment incentives. This is consistent with West Virginia and New Jersey.
The I Gaming views of Blackhurst and Baumann were shared on part of the regulatory framework and strong consumer protections to:
- Prevent minors from playing, with robust age and ID checks
- Ensure players within borders with strong geo-location technology
- Tools to deal with problem gambling
In accordance with the report from Econsult for the Pennsylvania Budget and Finance Committee, the annual ongoing potential revenue would mean tax collections of approximately $43 million applying a 14% tax. The industry is in support of a tax rate of 12%. I Gaming would take off quicker with the industry proposed rate. More promotions related to sign ups would increase the number of people that want to play. This would make Pennsylvania a more appealing place to play than Delaware or New Jersey. There are several additional meetings scheduled for April that will continue the conversation about I Gaming ,fantasy sports betting and gaming on mobile device.
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