The blurred gambling boundaries inevitable with state expansion

Pennsylvania casinos are not real keen on the state’s new iLottery program.

They filed a complaint with the Revenue Department last week, arguing that the internet-based games simulate slot machines and casino-style gambling in violation of state law.

The owners of seven casinos in the state say that the Gaming Act limits casino games to those who hold a slot machine license and table games certificate. Moreover, the iLottery games allow players who are 18 years old, but casinos can’t let anyone gamble under age 21.

In other words, they are arguing the gambling playing field is tilted against them.

We get their point.

We also find all of this inevitable. As the state has expanded gambling far beyond the traditional Lottery that benefits senior citizens, it was just a matter of time before the casinos, online gambling and the traditional Lottery would infringe on each other’s boundaries.

The state is looking for additional revenues apart from taxes and all of the gambling avenues fit the bill.

Now that the state is expanding the casino presence throughout Pennsylvania, the Revenue Department and the Legislature are going to need to better define the boundaries that separate each part of the gambling menu.

This probably should have been done ahead of the gambling expansion.

But we can probably all agree that when people in state government see the possibilities for additional revenue, some of the fine-point details may get ignored.

Also ignored – conveniently – is the fact those doing the gambling have a finite amount of money to spend on it, regardless of how many different ways are made available to do the spending.

Gambling is a form of entertainment. It is not for those who don’t know how to do it responsibly.

And it’s not a panacea for state government’s fiscal woes.