Gaming bill passed amid concerns

Could more gambling options increase addiction?

ERIE, Pa. -- Gov. Tom Wolf signed a gaming expansion bill into law Monday amid some opposition.

"Only in Harrisburg can the idea of legalizing credit card gambling be considered a good idea,” said State Rep. Aaron Kaufer, R-120th Dist., Luzerne County.

The legislation will allocate one million dollars to a land bank to be established by Erie County. Statewide, it will also allow online gambling and the creation of ten satellite casinos. There are currently 12 existing casinos in Pennsylvania. 

The legislation will permit gambling licenses for eligible truck stops and airports.

Supporters of the gaming changes say it will generate more than $200 million to the general fund and create more jobs and investment across the state.

State representatives Pat Harkins, D-1st Dist., and Ryan Bizzarro, D-3rd Dist., voted against the bill. They expressed concerns, such as the possibility of competition for Presque Isle Downs and Casino.

Some people fear it could contribute to lead to increased gambling problems.

Kaufer said, "All compulsive gamblers, they can win they try to win back their money. It's called chasing losses."

According to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, other signs of gambling addiction include the following: secrecy or lying about gambling habits, gambling to escape problems, borrowing money, and jeopardizing one’s relationships or job.

"Compulsive and problem gaming, the drug is access to more gaming,” said Kaufer. “We are laying out that path for people to have easier access to more money that they don't have."

Pennsylvania will be the fourth state to permit online gambling.
 


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