A top House Democrat is once again dealing out a bill to legalize table games in Pennsylvania casinos. It’s failed before, but some lawmakers seem more willing to consider the proposal due to the commonwealth’s tough financial straits.
Greene County Representative Bill DeWeese has been pushing for table games ever since casino gambling was legalized in Pennsylvania.
It hasn’t passed in previous sessions, but this year supporters are framing the measure as a way to bring in additional revenue, and help bridge a 3.2 billion dollar budget gap.
Governor Rendell says he’s not a fan of the idea, and he doesn’t think it would bring in enough funding to make a dent in the deficit, but he’s not completely opposed.
"It just doesn’t accomplish enough. And again, I think we need to wait until everybody’s up and running. If the legislature sent it to me and it was the will of the legislature, would I consider signing it? I would consider it."
Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, a Chester and Delaware County Republican, says table games aren’t a viable solution for the coming fiscal year, since it would take the Gaming Control Board several months to set up a regulatory system.
"It doesn’t seem reasonable to factor any revenues into the current or coming fiscal years. It’s more of a situation where if we do allow table games it would be the year after the year that we enact it that we would likely see tax revenues benefiting the commonwealth."
Pileggi says if the General Assembly does consider the measure, there should be a series of public hearings, so that commonwealth residents can weigh in on the debate.