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Wolf Open To Gambling Expansion, But Skeptical

The possibility of legalizing new forms of gambling in Pennsylvania has been a low-priority debate among state legislators for at least a year.

The effort is getting more attention now as Republican state lawmakers search for ways to fill a budget gap without ceding to the kind of tax increases supported by Governor Tom Wolf.

Wolf has said he would consider a gambling expansion.

“I haven’t heard anybody say that that is the end-all be-all to our budget deficit,” Wolf told Pittsburgh’s KDKA-AM on Tuesday. “I’m open to a conversation on that, and I presume you could design it to bring in some revenues, but not enough to plug a $2 billion deficit.”

Senate Republicans have said a plan to tweak casino regulations and allow online gambling could yield hundreds of millions of dollars.

That could be a rosy estimate.

A 2013 expansion of tavern gambling in Pennsylvania generated less than 1 percent of what lawmakers expected.