PA Gaming Bill Faces More Opposition From Former Lawmaker

Online Gambling Opposition Has Sunk To New Low With Latest Talking Points

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The arguments from opponents of online gambling are usually full of inaccuracies and strawmen.

But the latest published piece that says that iGaming is the “bogeyman” is perhaps the worst one to date.

Creating fear and spreading rumors on PA iGaming

A former Pennsylvania state representative, Paul Clymer, appears to have broken out the typewriter to tell us the supposed ills of online gambling. (Clymer once represented Bucks County, which is the home to Parx Casino, one of two casinos that has pushed back against PA online poker and casinos.)

In particular, he takes issue with a gaming bill that the PA Senate recently approved and sent to the House that would legalize and regulate online gambling in the state.

Clymer breaks out some of the worst arguments against iGaming that Online Poker Report has ever seen:

Questions: Is there an age limit? If so, who will be policing underage gambling? Is there a dollar limit? What is the social and economic impact on families and the community? We need answers.

Most of this passage is ill-informed at best and fear-mongering at worst.

Of course there’s an age limit for online gambling

With all due respect to the former lawmaker, it takes a few seconds to search the PA gaming bill — H 271 — to learn that there’s a minimum age for online gambling.

Like the industry standard for online casinos and land-based ones alike, the minimum age is set at 21.

Why he feels compelled to ask a question whose answer is easily available is unknown and should call into question any of his ensuing analysis.

Who would police the minimum age? Well, that’s the same regulators and casinos whom the state has already placed in charge of gambling in the state, including the PA Gaming Control Board.

Age verification is in fact easier with online gambling than for land-based casinos. The regulated iGaming market in neighboring New Jersey has had almost no problem with minors accessing online casinos. Meanwhile, PA has no shortage of examples of casinos being slapped with fines for allowing underage gambling.

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PA has been considering online gambling for years

The author acts as though the online gambling provisions cropped up under the dark of night, and haven’t been fully vetted.

But online gambling been touched on in dozens of legislative hearings in PA. The legislation currently under consideration is the result of years of work on the subject, and benefits from the experience of regulated markets in NJ, Nevada and Delaware.

Citing an online gambling study from 1999 is the coup de grace

Clymer goes on to write this amazing passage:

In 1999, President Bill Clinton convened the National Gambling Impact Study Commission. The unanimous conclusion targeted internet gambling as the worst of all gambling.

We’re not sure if the author is aware, but it’s 2017. Citing something studying the internet from 18 years ago almost defies belief.

But Clymer is actually making a point on behalf of regulated online gambling here. Any gambling that was going on in 1999 was wholly unregulated. Adding the protections of a regulatory scheme in PA should be in everyone’s best interest.

The entire letter to the editor also belies the fact that it is already extremely easy to gamble online in PA, at offshore, unlicensed sites. Clymer ignores this fact entirely.

There are problems with PA’s online gambling bill — among them high tax rates and fees that are counter-intuitive. But most of the arguments advanced by the former lawmaker — some of the worst ever seen from someone who doesn’t like online gambling — are nonsensical.

- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner. He has played poker recreationally for his entire adult life and has written about poker since 2008.
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