The state of gambling in Pennsylvania has been hotly debated over the last few months. Now, the Democratic Governor of the state, Tom Wolf, has spoken out about the planned gambling expansion. He has said that the Republican legislature needs to let go of its proposed changes and focus on ways to create meaningful revenue growth in the state.
Tom Wolf Proposes New Budget
Just three weeks ago, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a proposal to allow for the massive gambling expansion. This is in contrast to Tom Wolf’s proposed $32.3 billion state budget, which would call for an additional $1 billion for spending. The governor plans to get this additional funding from new taxes on shale natural gas production, closing certain corporate loopholes, and additional charges for extra police coverage for municipalities.
The House Republicans have stood against this budget and instead have pushed for the gambling expansion. This expansion would see slot machines being available in bars, truck stops, airports, and restaurants, as well as legalizing online casinos. The Republicans also want to lay the groundwork for legalizing sports betting, should the federal government overturn its ban.
Wolf disagrees with this plan as he doesn’t believe that gambling can provide the extra money needed for the budget. Wolf said, “I want real revenue, and I want real net revenue. I don’t want anything that we do in gaming or gambling to interfere with the revenues that are already in place. If it just cannibalizes and takes from one bucket called gambling to another, the commonwealth isn’t doing anything more than it has in the past.” This seems to indicate that he believes the Republican’s plans will simply take money from existing gambling operations, rather than generate new income.
Rocky Road Ahead For Pennsylvania
Wolf has also remained committed to spending more on education alongside fighting the drug crisis in the state. As it stands right now, the Democratic governor is very much at odds with the Republicans, who control both chambers of the General Assembly. However, even the GOP isn’t united. The State House is in favour of the gambling expansion and passed the bill a few weeks ago, but the higher chamber is yet to show much support. We’ll just have to wait and see how this all turns out for the state of Pennsylvania.