The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

October 27, 2013

Robin L. Quillon | Should Pa. bet on 'New Frontier' of gaming?

BY ROBIN L. QUILLON
rquillon@tribdem.com

JOHNSTOWN — Proverb says, “In a bet, there is a fool, and a thief.”

Nevada is the only state in America where (real money) online gambling is legal. However, on Halloween, Delaware will become the second state to offer online gambling. And New Jersey will follow four weeks later.

Soon, citizens will not have to travel to casinos to gamble away the rent or food money. They can comfortably sit at home and enjoy state-sponsored gambling 24/7.

But don’t get too excited, only those who live in the state will be allowed to gamble due to sophisticated geotracking/IP identifying software employed by the gambling sites. How they will verify that a person is 21 years old has not been nailed down. The honor system? Those pesky little details. Reminds me of Obamacare – ready, fire, aim!

To prime its residents, Delaware’s legislators allowed (free money) gambling games months earlier. This tactic is often used by crack dealers – the first hit is free and the second one will cost you everything.

With these states entering the online gambling market, you can bet (no pun intended) our legislators will start whining about losing gambling revenue due to neighboring states’ online gambling. But hold that thought …

Did you know that Pennsylvania is now second behind Las Vegas in total gambling revenues? Knowing that a casino’s success is built by losers who can least afford it, should we be proud or ashamed of coming in second to Vegas?

West Virginia, Maryland and Ohio are now in the state-sponsored casino business, and last year New York lawmakers legalized public casinos and allowed seven new casinos to operate. This is bad news for Pennsylvania’s casinos. As the website Gamingcontrolboard.pa.gov reported, casino revenues are on a steady decline. Both slots’ and table games’ income decreased by 5.7 percent this September compared to September of 2012. Basically, the other states are siphoning off our players, as Pennsylvania did to New Jersey. Our state is left with no choice but to pick the pockets of its own citizens.

Let’s just admit it, we are now at the bottom of a state-sponsored slippery slope.

I suppose we should be thankful that houses of ill repute are not legal anywhere near our fine state. Otherwise, our legislators might want to pursue that revenue stream to help reduce your real estate taxes. But hey, why not? We have state-sponsored hooch readily available, state-sponsored gambling,  and marijuana is gaining steady momentum – with 56 percent of Americans now in favor of legalization. The sacred family unit in America is under state-sponsored assault and being systematically dismantled before our very eyes with men marrying men and women marrying women.

I guess all the above are what some would call modern progressive thinking.

Exactly when did traditional values stray so far from our grasp? Indeed, society’s moral nerve endings have been numbed one deceptive step at a time, all in the name of progressive thinking.   

With Delaware’s and New Jersey’s big online gambling announcements, a test balloon was floated recently by Pennsylvania’s Gambling Control Board Chairman Bill Ryan. He said, “Online poker and other casino-style games are the ‘New Frontier’ for states hungry for revenue.”

So what say you, good citizens? Should we allow our legislators to place another bet on this “New Frontier”? If so, do we run the risk of becoming a state full of fools and thieves?

 

Robin L. Quillon is the publisher of The Tribune-Democrat, of CNHI News Service. He can be reached at rquillon@tribdem.com.