Is vgt a good investment can change the location at any time. The bill now moves to the House, which could take it up later tonight. This story was updated at 9:10 p. Wednesday with reaction from senators speaking after the Senate vote.
The Pennsylvania Senate passed a far-reaching gambling expansion bill Wednesday that would legalize Internet games, authorize a new set of casinos across the state, and permit legal games at highway truck stops. The Senate vote was 31-19, with 18 Republicans and 13 Democrats voting in support. The bill now moves to the state House, which is expected to take it up later tonight. If enacted, Pennsylvania will – in a significant change from the gaming world it set up 13 years ago – for the first time sanction commercial gambling outside 12 original licensed casinos and racetracks.
The new casinos could be in secondary, but potentially attractive, markets like State College, Gettysburg and the Lake Erie waterfront. And the Internet games will turn virtually any online device into a betting position. The bill was the result of a temporary truce in an intense battle over the introduction of VGTs, the slots-style games that many House members had hoped to make available to bars, restaurants and private clubs. The Senate, which has fewer supporters of VGTs, moved from a no-VGT position that it had struck through most of the summer and fall to allowing the games at truck stops only in an attempt to meet the House halfway. There’s no question that that was added to bring consensus between the Senate and the House,” said Sen. Jay Costa, D-Allegheny County and the Democrats’ floor leader.
The bill has also drawn vigorous opposition from some of the state’s established casino operators. Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, argued the proposed satellite casinos will likely cannibalize the state’s existing set without generating new net revenue. Penn National’s claim is it will be uniquely victimized, since proposed 25-mile buffer zones for existing casinos provide mega-buffers for most of its competitors, but leaves the bulk of Penn’s more far-flung primary market exposed. As a company document circulated to lawmakers states: “Robbing Peter to pay Paul may be a good idea when Peter is in Atlantic City and Paul is in Pennsylvania. But it certainly doesn’t make economic sense when Peter is an established, tax-generating business employing 1,000-plus Pennsylvania residents in the heart of the Commonwealth. Robert “Tommy” Tomlinson, a Bucks County Republican who helped spearhead passage of Pennsylvania’s original casino gambling bill in 2004, said he was bothered by the proliferation of gaming in the new bill.
Tomlinson said, who voted against Wednesday’s bill. But in the end, leaders of the Republican-controlled General Assembly have collectively chosen this path – and its potential social costs – as a better way to close a budget deficit than increasing or imposing any other taxes. Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre County, said he doesn’t believe the package, as sprawling as it is, will dramatically change the character of Pennsylvania, in part because of the local controls embedded in the bill. Corman also noted that the maximum of 7,500 slots allocated to the new string of casinos will fit within the original cap on slot machines contained in the original 2004 bill. Permits up to 10 new satellite casinos, with licenses awarded through a series of auctions open to the operators of the existing racetrack and freestanding casinos. Successful bidders would win the right to claim a location, from which they would have to build a casino within a 15-mile radius. No casinos, however, could be located within 25 miles of an existing casino operated by a competitor.