Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Orie Announces Gaming Reform Bill Package

Senate Majority Whip Jane Orie, alongside a handful of other state senators, today unveiled a package of bills aimed at reforming Pennsylvania’s gaming industry. The bills span a variety of topics including a measure that would ban convicted felons from working at any level within the gaming industry and legislation that would grant municipalities a voice in the location of new gaming facilities. The bills were drafted collectively by a bipartisan group of lawmakers within the senate. Senator John Rafferty (R-Berks) says he hopes the legislation passes and can help clean up the reputation of the Pennsylvania gambling industry.

The Pennsylvania gaming board has come under close scrutiny since several mishaps over the last few years including:
-The 2007 licensing of Louis DeNaples who was brought up on perjury charges for alleged mob ties. Those charges have since been dropped with DeNaples blaming the board for a poor investigation.
-Granting approval to a financing plan for the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh by Detroit financier Don Barden which eventually fell through. The board then had to scramble to find casino owner Neil Bluhm to take over the financing.
-Lawyers who quit the gaming board and then took jobs with casinos they had been regulating.
-And contractors with felony convictions who were allowed to work on casinos. Those contractors were suspended by the board, but have been since allowed back to work after appealing to the courts.

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