Pennsylvania Senate Expected to Vote on Track Slots

The Pennsylvania Senate could vote today, June 25, on legislation to allow slot machines at racetracks. The plan needs 26 votes to pass, and if it does, it will be sent to the House of Representatives.

Gary Tuma, spokesman for Sen. Vince Fumo, told the Philadelphia Inquirer: "The deal is basically done. What happens in the House is another question."

The Senate proposal calls for the state to get 36% of slots revenue. Racetracks would get 46%, and horsemen 18%. (Horsemen and breeders had sought a combined 25%.) Each track would have to pay a fee of $50 million for the right to operate the machines.

Racetracks would be required to have at least 1,500 slot machines operating in the first year. That is expected to raise about $300 million for the state, the Inqurier reported.

House Speaker John Perzel has suggested putting slot machines at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the newspaper reported. State Rep. Dwight Evans told the Inquirer he would tack on amendments for riverboat gambling and land-based casinos if the plan reaches the House.

A more expansive House bill would then have to be reconciled with the Senate bill in a conference committee.