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Pennsylvania To Consider Slots Gambling At Bars

Proposal Comes Amid Online Poker Discussions In Harrisburg

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Legislation introduced Tuesday in Pennsylvania would allow a slew of video gambling machines (VGTs) outside the state’s 12 Las Vegas-style casinos.

House Bill No. 110 would give businesses such as bars and taverns the opportunity to have the devices. The expansion of slot machine-style gambling in the Keystone State is being considered along with internet gambling.

The state wants to bolster its $3 billion casino gambling market amid competition for gambling dollars from nearby states.

While only two of the state’s casinos oppose internet betting, the VGT plan is more controversial. Both online gaming and the expansion of slot machines were considered last year.

Police “estimate over 40,000 illegal VGTs are now operating in Pennsylvania and these illegal machines exist in an unlicensed, unregulated, untaxed platform,” Sen. Guy Reschenthaler said at a news conference. “We need to legalize this industry to bring it out of the shadows.”

State officials held a hearing on Tuesday to discuss VGTs. A hearing earlier this month was on the online poker issue. State lawmakers also must fix a local share tax issue related to gaming.

Research released Tuesday from PlayPennsylvania said that the Keystone State online gambling market would be worth $230 million in year one, growing to $364 million by 2022.