Pennsylvania Governor-Elect to Push for Slot Machines

Ed Rendell, who won a landslide victory in the Pennsylvania governor's race on Tuesday, has said that his top priority when he takes office is to lower property taxes in the state, which he intends to do by allowing slot machines at the five racetracks in the state.

While Rendell's defeated opponent, Mike Fisher, also offered lukewarm support for slots at tracks, Rendell constantly referred to them in campaign speeches and in print interviews.

Rendell's election represents the best chance the horse racing industry has ever had in getting slots legislation passed in Pennsylvania. While the industry awaited Tuesday's election results, negotiations were already in progress between management and horsemen at Philadelphia Park over the percentage of slots revenue that horsemen would receive.

In Bucks County, where Philadelphia Park is located, Sen. Tommy Tomlinson also was re-elected, and he has pledged support for slots. Legislation he co-sponsored is currently awaiting action in Harrisburg.

However, it is far from a slam-dunk for slots to be introduced in the state, said Sen. Robert Jubelirer in today's Philadelphia Inquirer. Jubelirer predicted that the plan to legalize slot machines at racetracks could sink under the weight of amendments seeking more gambling options, such as keno or riverboats, as happened in the past.