The House Gaming Oversight Committee held a hearing at Kutztown University in Berks County on a controversial bill to legalize video lottery machines in Pennsylvania.
Education officials praised House Bill 1317 for attempting to bring down the cost of college tuition, but various interest groups raised a range of concerns about the implications of allowing every bar and tavern to have up to five video lottery terminals. Paul Boni led a small group of anti-gaming protesters who picketed the hearing. He says he rejects the argument that legalizing video lottery isn't an expansion of gaming.
"The fact that Representative Santoni's legislation defines the machine differently-well that's just a legislative trick. He can define it as a banana if he wants, but that's not going to change the nature of the machine."
Lehigh County tavern owner Kelly Shaffer told the Committee the measure imposes too many fees and taxes on licensees, to the point where she wouldn't be interested in applying for lottery terminals.
The Pennsylvania Tavern Association has lodged similar complaints against the measure.