Are slot machines coming to a Pa. airport near your?

Written by Tim Lambert and Radio Pennsylvania | Oct 27, 2015 4:53 AM

FILE PHOTO - In this May 24, 2012 file photo, patrons play the slot machines at Harrah's Casino in Chester. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(Middletown) -- Pennsylvanians could see a lot more opportunities to gamble as they travel through airports across the state.

Under a proposal in the state House, airports would host slot machines in their terminals.

At a hearing at Harrisburg International Airport, HIA Executive Director Timothy Edwards says he's concerned about how revenue would be shared.

"We believe any 'to be established' distribution formula should be, number one, adequate to cover our costs, obviously, and to provide some additional revenue that's really the only reason that this would work," he says. "It must be fair. All airports should receive similar percentages."

Randall Walker, the former Executive Director of McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, spoke on behalf of Pittsburgh International Airport.

He says a number of factors are involved in making airport slot machines pay off, including location.

"People don't plan on spending money at the airports," he says. "Think of yourselves. You don't plan to shop. Most people don't even plan to eat at an airport. It's all pretty impulse type things."

Casino operators asked lawmakers to make sure any laws will be complementary to the gambling operations that already exists in Pennsylvania

Republicans in the legislature see expanded gambling as a way to raise money before they hike taxes to balance a deep budget deficit.

Other ideas under consideration include Internet gambling and allowing casinos to station slot machines at off-track horse-racing betting parlors.  

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