Pennsylvania Poll Shows Support for Slots at Racetracks

According to a poll released Wednesday by IssuesPA, an education project of the Pennsylvania Economy League, a non-partisan think tank, installing slot machines at racetracks -- endorsed by gubernatorial candidates Ed Rendell and Mike Fisher -- was supported by 63% of respondents, with 59% thinking that riverboat gambling would also be a good option.

The IssuesPA poll was conducted by Millersville University's Center for Opinion Research. The Center for Opinion Research conducted a survey of 833 Pennsylvanians between August 2 and September 4, using a random sample of adult Pennsylvanians.

Slots legislation in the state stands perhaps its best chance of passage no matter which candidate gets elected. Both have gone on record stating they support slots at racetracks.

Democratic candidate Rendell has stated he would use the revenue generated by slots to fund education and reduce property taxes, while Republican Fisher said he would funnel the slots revenue to the state Lottery Fund.

The candidates also differ as to why they would support slots legislation. Rendell has stated he is concerned about recapturing revenue that Pennsylvania loses when its gamblers cross state lines to play slots. In addition to slot machines at racetracks, and he has at times said he would consider riverboat gambling and Keno, a lottery-style game played at casinos.

Fisher pledges to veto any expansion of gambling beyond racetrack slot machines and views slots as simply a way to protect Pennsylvania's racing industry from competition in neighboring states.

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