State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

For a plan to legalize gambling in bars, a dip in luck

Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | Oct 24, 2013 8:48 PM
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A plan to legalize games like raffles and drawings in bars across Pennsylvania has hit choppy waters after sailing through the Pennsylvania state Senate.

A plan to allow gambling in bars and taverns across Pennsylvania has hit choppy waters after sailing through the Pennsylvania state Senate.

What stalled the proposal is a disagreement over where money from expanded gambling should go.

A plan to legalize games like raffles and drawings in bars that obtain a license is estimated to bring in as much as $36 million for the commonwealth by next summer.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi said the money should go into the state's general budget.

"We have a need to balance the general fund budget which supports higher education, K-12 education, supports the Department of Public Welfare," Pileggi said.

But Gov. Corbett's spokesman, Jay Pagni, said Wednesday the administration would like to see the money funneled into programs for seniors.

The plan has cleared a House committee, but wasn't brought up for a final vote in the full chamber Wednesday afternoon (lawmakers aren't back in Harrisburg for voting days until mid-November).

Democrats in the House voiced suspicion of the proposal, which they said was negotiated behind closed doors in the Senate. Republicans say the plan was agreed upon in June as part of state budget negotiations. It was never mentioned in budget press briefings.

Published in State House Sound Bites

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