HARRISBURG (AP) – Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has approved legislation authorizing a major expansion of gambling in what’s already the nation’s second-largest commercial casino state.READ MORE: Parents Frustrated After Violent Week Across Pittsburgh Public Schools
Wolf says the gambling expansion won’t cannibalize existing tax collections from the industry.
Gov. Tom Wolf tells the “KDKA Morning News,” “We finally got to a budget that is truly balanced, and we’re funding good things like education and seniors, jobs, the opioid epidemic. I think we had a good budget…back in June. What we did yesterday was just finally got funding [for it].”
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Wolf also said that the state needed revenue to help prop up its operating budget and that there was pressure to expand gambling.READ MORE: Vigil For COVID-19 Victims Held In Westmoreland County
“The thing that everyone was trying to avoid was eating into the revenues that were coming from existing gambling so, I think that it wasn’t something that anybody was really wild about, but it was a compromise and I signed it,” said Wolf.
The bill makes Pennsylvania the fourth state to allow online gambling while letting the struggling state lottery take its games online. It also lets Pennsylvania’s 10 largest casinos bid on licenses to operate new, smaller casinos.
The gambling proposal passed last week in the Republican-controlled Legislature. It aims to produce about $200 million annually from casino license fees and taxes on higher gambling losses.
Pennsylvania casinos rake in more gross revenues than any other state except Nevada. Pennsylvania is the No. 1 state in tax revenue from the casino industry, netting $1.4 billion in the most recent fiscal year.
Listen to the “KDKA Morning News” with Larry Richert and John Shumway weekdays from 5 to 9 a.m. on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA.MORE NEWS: GetGo Cashier Left Bruised, Scared After Attack In Store
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)