Pennsylvania’s Tribune Live newspaper reported over the weekend that Pennsylvania, West Virginia and nine other US states could approve online gambling this year or next, according to gambling consultant and analyst Fred Gushin, managing director and founder of the well-respected Spectrum Gaming Group.
Speaking last week at a webinar presented by LexisNexis and Spectrum, Gushin said:
“There’s intense competition in that part of the country. It’s something that will be considered not only by Pennsylvania but by all the other states that have gaming because they ultimately can’t afford not to.”
He went on to predict that if online gambling is successful in Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware, other states will “jump into this bandwagon as fast as they can.”
Gushin predicted that several states will sign compacts agreeing to share customers across state lines, because Nevada and Delaware have relatively small populations, which can limit the range of games offered.
Pennsylvania and other states with large populations would be attractive members of such compacts, but states will have to agree on licensing standards, he said.
Other issues for online gambling identified by Gushin included:
* “Know your customer” or KYC: It is essential to set up a rigorous registration process to ensure that each player identity is unique, verified and of legal age.
* Fraud prevention: Establishing safeguards against money-laundering, chip dumping and collusion between players is also critical.
* Barring problem gamblers: this is an extremely sensitive political and social issue, as is the exclusion of under-age gamblers, and demands the closest possible attention by online gambling operators and regulators.
States will have different mechanisms for regulating online gambling, Gushin opined, noting that for many the answer would lie in existing state lottery management structures or state gaming commissions.
“Regulators have to keep pace with technology,” Gushin says. “That’s been a problem in the past, but Internet gaming forces the issue.”
Asked for comment, Bill Thomas, executive director for the Pennsylvania House Gaming Committee under minority chairman Rep. Rosita Youngblood, said a study of gambling in the eastern state, including the potential impact of Internet wagering, is due for presentation to the state Legislature by May.
And he said a bill proposed last year by Rep. Tina Davis, could be the blueprint for online gambling in Pennsylvania.
Tribune-Review editor Mark Gruetze, who is a recreational gambler, says New Jersey, where all forms of casino gambling became available online in November, already has approved 148,000 gambler accounts.