By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A lobbying group for the gaming industry, in Philadelphia for a conference, says casinos in Pennsylvania must develop a next-generation gaming policy to remain competitive.

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While Pennsylvania is now the second-largest gambling market in the nation (after Nevada), Geoff Freeman, the president and CEO of the American Gaming Association, says they want to take casino gaming to the next level:

“How do we take 34,000 jobs and turn it into 50,000 jobs? How do we take $2.4-billion in tax payments and turn it into $3-billion?”

Freeman says the industry wants state policymakers to re-think tax policies set when casinos first opened in 2006:

“The policies developed around casino gaming were based on the perception that this was a monopoly, that there was easy money to be had.”

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No longer, he says, as neighboring states have subsequently legalized and opened casinos.

That’s why he says the industry wants to work with policymakers to craft policies to innovate, and reinvest to compete with the others:

“There’s a time where they’re going to have to reinvest, something you see in Las Vegas and beyond.”

A study by the group commissioned by the Wayne-based Oxford Economics shows casino gaming contributes $6.2-million to Pennsylvania’s economy.

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