Two Republicans from Allegheny County want to expand the use of video gaming terminals to bars and truck stops, and the commonwealth’s casino magnates are howling.
State Rep. Mark Mustio has introduced a bill in the House that would allow for more slot machine locations, and Sen. Guy Reschenthaler said he will soon do the same in his chamber.
LancasterOnline reported that representatives for casinos fear more slot-sites would “cannibalize” their business. According to Online Poker Report, Parx Casino CEO said legalizing online gambling in Pennsylvania would cost “thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of investment dollars by the brick and mortar operators.”
Reschenthaler called the casino critics a “state-sanctioned monopoly” worried about having to compete for customers.
He told Watchdog his reasons for supporting expanded gambling are both ideological and pragmatic.
Ideologically, people should be free to participate in the gambling market “without the government having a prohibition.”
Pragmatically, the state needs the tax revenue.
Bob Dick, a senior policy analyst at the Harrisburg-based Commonwealth Foundation, a free-market think tank, said casinos “shouldn’t have a say” in whether gambling is expanded.
He was less sanguine about what Reschenthaler called his pragmatism, saying the state’s long-term budget problems can’t be fixed by short-term fixes like a slight boost in gaming revenue.