Pennsylvania Racetrack Slots Bills Still on Table

With the Pennsylvania legislature set to return June 2, it will be pressured to act on one of two measures that would place slot machines at racetracks. Gov. Ed Rendell wants a bill passed before summer recess commences June 30.

Obstacles have arisen, however, that threaten to postpone a vote until the fall. They include the claim by an Oklahoma Indian tribe that they own land near Easton, Pa., and have the right to build a casino in the state, and a proposal to auction slots licenses with a minimum bid of $100 million.

In addition, lawmakers may be slow to act on the slots issue because the state recently received a $900-million windfall from the federal government as part of the tax-cut legislation signed by President Bush. Rendell has estimated slots would generate $300 million in revenue the first year, and $800 million the following year.

Rendell is leaning on Senate Democrats to construct a slots bill that will pass in June.

"He is confident that a bill will reach his desk and slots will be legalized before June 30," Rendell spokesperson Kate Philips told the Philadelphia Inquirer.