The Pennsylvania’s budget negotiations seem to be in a current impasse, since the House and Senate Republicans still cannot find a point of intersection and agree on a particular solution, with the video gaming terminals being the moot point between the two parties.
As some other states in America, Pennsylvania meets some financial challenges due to budget gaps. Following the blueprints of Illinois (and not only), the local government started to consider the liberalization of the gambling market as a good option to bridge the financial gaps. Drawing up the balance-sheet, the state’s economic situation does not seem to be proliferating.
Hence, Pennsylvania did not waste any time and a gambling bill was introduced. The bill was approved by Governor Tom Wolf along with the majority of the Republicans a year ago, but the House Majority Leader Dave Reed proposed some amendments regarding the video gaming terminals (VGTs). He came up with the idea that such slot-like video gaming machines can be placed in public places such as bars and truck stops. This put on hold once again the process of liberalizing the casino industry in the state.
The House representatives kept their fingers crossed, hoping that their opponents – the Republicans – will welcome their proposal. They backed up their proposal with facts, outlining that the VGTs will give an additional boost not only to the state’s economy, but also to the small business.
However, the Republicans expressed their strong resentment to the suggested VGTs amendments. One of the main reasons was that the slot-like machines will hit the state’s established brick-and-mortar casinos, which will impose the need to cut their costs in order to “survive”. By no surprise, the first and most reasonable way to do so is to reduce the number of their employees, which means that many people will appear to be jobless.
On the other hand, the proponents of the “tavern” gambling explain that this is only an attempt to back up the monopoly of the Pennsylvania’s casinos. It was estimated that the introduction of the VGTs may generate up to $250 million (or even more) to enter the state’s coffers. It was explained that there are more than 40,000 VGTs across the state, which are illegally operating and it would be a good deal if these are taxed.
Nevertheless, the two parties should find a decision, as the state needs to plan its budget. The Republicans, though, hold 34 seats out of 50, which means that they are the majority. They stated their position that in order to agree on the suggested amendments, the House should come up with a clear plan of action.
The casino market has become a perennial issue for some time in Pennsylvania. It is more than clear that the casino industry is knocking on the Pennsylvania’s market doors, but it is still impossible to talk in terms of time constraints.