ShareThis Page

Internet gambling hurts farmers

| Monday, July 13, 2015, 9:00 p.m.

Each year, Pennsylvania's agriculture and horse racing industries pour billions of dollars into the state economy and support tens of thousands of jobs. These benefits enjoyed by so many Pennsylvanians are being threatened by state Senate Bill 900, which would allow for Internet gambling.

Since Pennsylvania expanded gaming in 2004, racetrack casinos have designated slots revenue to the Race Horse Development Fund, leading to important growth in our horse racing industry without relying on a single taxpayer dollar. That growth has benefited countless farmers, who sell materials necessary for horse racing. According to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, horse owners and trainers reinvested approximately 89 percent — that's $210 million — of money paid from the Race Horse Development Fund into their local economies.

As currently written, SB 900 would allow Internet gaming to bypass this fund. This would undo much of the progress made since 2004, when expanded gambling was designed to rescue Pennsylvania's horse racing industry.

A recent study published in the University of Nevada-Las Vegas Gaming Research and Review Journal found that Internet gambling cannibalizes commercial casino revenues by 27 to 30 percent. In Pennsylvania, this would have a devastating impact.

Pennsylvania got it right in 2004. We know this because Ohio and Maryland have used Pennsylvania's Race Horse Development Fund as a model for their states.

Internet gambling has its place, but it shouldn't hurt Pennsylvania farmers and working families.

Tim Shea

East Hanover Township

Dauphin County

The writer is president of the Pennsylvania Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.