Did you know there’s a proposal in Pennsylvania to allow casino players to cash large personal checks on the casino floor? I’m personally not morally opposed to letting players do with their money as the please, but I’m a bit confused by the hypocrisy.
You see, as Pennsylvania looks for new revenue tools and ideas to drive traffic to its casinos, they’re also considering regulating online casinos. And that’s upset some gambling opponents. Apparently, giving people the freedom to gamble with their own money online is a horrible idea. But allowing people to take a personal check, whether a state welfare check or a large check representing two weeks pay, is a fabulous idea. Wait, what?
Here’s the thing. When it comes to keeping players safe and making sure they don’t gamble beyond their means, online casinos are actually better. At a live casino, you can take $10,000 to the cage and swap it or chips. And if the state has its way, you’ll be able to take your paycheck and do the same.
But online? Online there are checks and balances. Most Internet casinos, including Slots of Vegas, set deposit limits per day, week, and month. That means you can only deposit a few hundred bucks in one shot without our responsible gambling team taking notice. And you can’t cash a personal check and convert it to virtual chips. It’s impossible, and we think that’s a good thing.
We don’t think the state of Pennsylvania will choose one way of attracting new players over another. Right now, they’re looking at all avenues they can to increase revenue. Up until the last few years, Pennsylvania was the only state in the surrounding region to gamble. That meant a flood of players migrating across the border, just to play slots and table games.
But now that casinos have opened up or are opening up in surrounding states, Pennsylvania needs to up the ante and create new revenue streams. Online gambling is likely to be tabled as a viable option, but there is one big roadblock.
In February, a state representative tried to table a bill that would make it illegal for residents to gamble online. First offenders could land in jail for 90 days while 2x offenders could be sentenced to a full year. The bill has not yet passed and will likely meet major opposition.
I think that if a state doesn’t want to regulate and reap the tax benefits of online gambling, that’s fine. But to make it illegal to play? That will just drive people to play underground or move to a different state where freedom is valued. As a former keystone state resident, I’m glad I don’t live there.