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Posted on October 25, 2013 by Tom Jones
The state of Pennsylvania is on track when it comes to gambling expansion. The state has already surpassed New Jersey as the second-largest gaming market in the US, and now lawmakers are aiming for an even bigger reward.
The state senate passed a bill this week that would allow Pennsylvania bars to run a variety of games of chance in return for a portion of their gaming revenue. The Senate passed the bill with a large 39-11 margin.
Already considered one of the best places to play in the world, Pennsylvania is now coming closer to Nevada in terms of overall gaming options. The move to gamble in bars comes down to dollars and cents for legislators.
"Every time you talk about raising more than $ 150 million a year, lawmakers will listen," said analyst Steve Rosen. "Pennsylvania has seen what gambling dollars can do for the state's economy, and they know a large sum of money from new gaming opportunities, such as gaming tabs, can be beneficial to the state's residents."
However, the House and the vast majority of Democrat leaders are not sure whether such a plan will work. The battle in the state capital is not about expansion, but rather about spreading out the tax revenues generated from additional gambling. Democrats and Governor Tom Corbett would like funds to go to the Pennsylvania Lottery Fund.
Republican leaders stayed away from allocating tax revenues to the fund. Democratic lawmakers believed they had made an agreement with Senate republicans on the allocation of funds, but said the condition was removed from the final bill passed in the Senate.
Pennsylvania has one of the most successful casino industries in the world. First, a few years ago the state added new casinos. Meanwhile, legislators allowed table games, which helped Pennsylvania save New Jersey as the casino gaming capital of the East Coast.