PPA Blasts Pennsylvania Senator’s iGaming Misconceptions

The Poker Players Alliance has criticized a November letter to the state Assembly from state Senator Robert Tomlinson (l.) that repeated misconceptions about iGaming.

The Poker Players Alliance and other pro-iGaming groups are criticizing Pennsylvania state Senator Robert Tomlinson for a letter just made public that he sent to the state Assembly concerning potential internet gaming passage, saying Tomlinson repeated misconceptions about iGaming which may have contributed to the issue being pushed to next year’s legislative session.

As state lawmakers convened for a post-election lame-duck session, a bill to legalize online gaming was before both chambers, and many thought the measure—which provided for state regulation of iGaming but left out the details—would pass. Tomlinson’s letter raised long-debunked myths about iGaming that could have convinced Assembly members to delay the issue until 2017.

The letter suggested it would be difficult to prevent underage gambling, and that iGaming would cannibalize the land-based industry.

It is well-established that online casinos are better than land-based operations in preventing underage gambling, and the fallacy that land-based operations would be harmed has been disproven in the three states that have legal iGaming. Yet, Tomlinson wrote in November, “We face the very real risk the commonwealth will actually lose revenue as a result of the introduction of internet gambling and the potential to siphon gaming dollars away from our bricks-and-mortar casinos.”

In a rebuke to Tomlinson, John Pappas, executive chairman of the Poker Players Alliance, wrote that Tomlinson’s letter ignored 30 hearings and three years of debate on iGaming by Pennsylvania lawmakers.

“It’s arguable that no other single issue before the legislature has been debated or vetted more than this one,” Pappas wrote. “Your accusation that online gaming cannibalizes brick-and-mortar casinos is 100 percent false. Worse, you know it’s false. You have undoubtedly met with gaming enforcement officials and casino executives in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and around the country who have debunked this myth to you directly.

“You have also participated in public hearings where these issues were discussed and explained by experts. Yet, you still had the audacity to repeat the charge in your letter despite knowing its inaccuracy.

“Senator, that is shameful.”

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