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Gaming Law

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NEWS
October 26, 1990 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Staff Writer
Confused by a state law regulating raffles and other small games of chance, Chester County Treasurer Tracy Massey went searching for answers soon after she took office this year. "I called the District Attorney's Office and asked to speak to somebody about small games of chance. They put me on hold and the telephone rang right down here next to me," recalled Massey, whose office sells the $100 game licenses. Officials across the state have struggled to interpret the law and are reluctant to enforce it. The law, which took effect in 1989, legalized some of the raffles, lotteries, punchboard and pull-tab games that had become traditional but unlawful fund-raising tools for thousands of community, volunteer and religious organizations.
BUSINESS
June 29, 2014 | By Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writer
Penn National Gaming Inc. has dropped its bid to build a $480 million Hollywood casino in South Philadelphia, the Wyomissing, Pa., company said Friday. "A contributing factor in our decision to withdraw our proposal was the City of Philadelphia's vocal support for a Center City casino location, despite the fact that two-thirds of the profits from our proposed casino were dedicated to the city's education and pension fund liabilities," said Timothy J. Wilmott, Penn National's president and chief executive.
NEWS
April 30, 2008
It wasn't too long ago that Gov. Rendell and friends claimed the state needed to legalize slots parlors in order to save the horse racing industry. Then somewhere along the line, some of the so-called racinos morphed into free-standing slots parlors. Now, some Harrisburg lawmakers are once again exploring the idea of legalizing full-blown casinos with blackjack, roulette, and other table games. At this rate, what happens in Las Vegas will soon be happening in Pennsylvania.
NEWS
September 21, 2006
GREAT EDITORIAL about the state's effort to transfer Philadelphia's zoning authority to the unelected Gaming Control Board in Harrisburg ("Harrisburg zoning-control freaks," Sept. 12). Politicians in Harrisburg and Philadelphia believe city residents don't much object to their waterfront being turned into Atlantic City without a public debate, citizen input, zoning authority or a good plan. But many of us do object. Act 71, the gaming law, was passed in the middle of the night, right before the 2004 July Fourth recess, just like the pay raise.
NEWS
January 13, 2009
IF THE BOOK relating the history of gaming in Pennsylvania ever gets written, it's hard to imagine the word "debacle" not in the title. But that book is a big "if," given the twists and turns of gaming in the state, which seems to open a sordid new chapter every few months. The latest: the revelation that Foxwoods chief honcho Michael Thomas was convicted on drug-dealing charges in 1988. He was still granted a gaming license in Pennsylvania despite the prohibition on felons' getting a license within 15 years of the end of their sentences.
NEWS
September 7, 2008
How ironic that the lawmaker who played a key role in crafting Pennsylvania's flawed gambling law now wants to fix it. But then again, who better to close the gaping loopholes than retiring State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo (D., Phila.)? After all, he knows where the holes are located. It's not cynical to consider that Fumo's efforts now may have ulterior motives. Perhaps he wants to buff his image in preparation for the long federal corruption trial he faces starting tomorrow. Or maybe Fumo wants to get back at the cronies in the casino business whom he no longer counts among his friends.
NEWS
January 15, 2009
For those keeping score at home, Pennsylvania now has two ex-cons who have been given coveted licenses to run slots parlors. One of the felons has since been accused of mob ties. Another was convicted of dealing drugs. Can Bugsy Siegel be far behind? Unfortunately, Gov. Rendell is too busy counting the tax dollars rolling in from slots to realize that the state's gambling venture is quickly becoming a laughingstock. Rendell pushed for, and state regulators approved, the gaming law in 2004 with little public input.
NEWS
April 18, 2010
One of the many problems surrounding Pennsylvania's dubious venture into state-approved gambling is how all the legal disputes surrounding casinos get fast-tracked straight to the state Supreme Court. A proposal by State Rep. Curt Schroder (R., Chester), minority chairman of the House Gaming Oversight Committee, seeks to undo that special treatment. If passed, legal disputes involving gaming would go through regular court channels, just like other cases. That's the way it should be. It is troubling that one industry is allowed to bypass the lower courts and have its legal disputes heard exclusively by the high court.
NEWS
June 6, 2011
By Greg Fajt The state Attorney General's Office recently released a grand jury report that is highly critical of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, largely on the basis of events that occurred during the agency's earliest years of operation. The Inquirer has portrayed my comments on the report as dismissive of it and of its recommendations on how the agency and the state gaming law could be improved. That is simply not the case. The Gaming Control Board, which I chair, recognizes and respects the hard work of the state grand jury, which was investigating possible violations of the law during the establishment of the board and the issuance of gaming licenses.
NEWS
January 14, 2008
I WAS FLATTERED by the admiration for my prose style that you expressed in your Jan. 10 editorial, so great that you wish me to provide your staff with writing lessons. Unfortunately, such tutelage would, I fear, be wasted. You need much more extensive help - full-scale journalism lessons. A course in logic wouldn't hurt, either. Yes, I wrote the gaming law that allows for the establishment of two casinos in Philadelphia. But contrary to your suggestion, during the recent legal battles, I have not changed positions nor am I pretending to oppose that law. I am trying to make sure that it and other laws of the commonwealth are followed correctly.
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BUSINESS
November 16, 2014 | By Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writer
Standing outside SugarHouse Casino one evening last week, Willie and Shenae Blackman of Camden didn't blink an eye when asked what they thought of a second casino opening in Philadelphia. "We would go to both of them," Shenae Blackman said with a big smile. But then a note of doubt crept into her voice as the potential impact of spreading gamblers around dawned on her: "This place always seems busy, and to split people up - I don't know. " She touched on the central issue: Are there enough gamblers to sustain two casinos in Philadelphia, which already has another casino on its doorstep, Harrah's Philadelphia in Chester?
BUSINESS
June 29, 2014 | By Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writer
Penn National Gaming Inc. has dropped its bid to build a $480 million Hollywood casino in South Philadelphia, the Wyomissing, Pa., company said Friday. "A contributing factor in our decision to withdraw our proposal was the City of Philadelphia's vocal support for a Center City casino location, despite the fact that two-thirds of the profits from our proposed casino were dedicated to the city's education and pension fund liabilities," said Timothy J. Wilmott, Penn National's president and chief executive.
BUSINESS
March 13, 2014 | By Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writer
When Pennsylvania legislators legalized casino gambling in 2004, they created numerous pots of money - some big, some small - that are fed by gamblers' losses. Among the smaller funds is the Local Law Enforcement Grant Program, which started with $5 million a year from slot machine revenue but was reduced to $2 million a year in 2010 because there was too little demand for money that could only be used to fight illegal gambling. Even after that reduction, the Local Law Enforcement Grant fund, administered by a unit of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, has built up a surplus of $8.5 million.
BUSINESS
February 28, 2014 | By Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writer
During final arguments Wednesday on who should get Philadelphia's second casino license, applicants' lawyers took potshots at other proposals and dismissed SugarHouse Casino's argument that there are too few gamblers to support another casino. At the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board's hearing in Harrisburg, the applicants, as well as SugarHouse and a neighborhood group opposed to the Provence, were allowed 15 minutes to summarize their cases without introducing any new evidence.
NEWS
January 31, 2014 | By Jennifer Lin and Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writers
The casino projects with the least amount of land and the most presented vastly different plans to the Pennsylvania gaming board during the second day of hearings Wednesday for Philadelphia's second casino license. In each case, the size of the sites defined the shape and focus of the projects. Market8 would be a tall, compact project on two acres in Center City that catered as much to patrons arriving by foot or public transit as car. Casino Revolution would sprawl over 24 acres in the warehouse district of South Philadelphia and be driver-friendly.
NEWS
January 28, 2014 | By Jennifer Lin and Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writers
Speculation about who could win Philadelphia's second gaming license is certain to pick up with the start Tuesday of three days of hearings before the Pennsylvania gaming commission. But what if no one wins? It's a nagging question privately making the rounds in political and business circles. State gaming law reserves two licenses for Philadelphia. But people familiar with the selection say a stalemate stemming from a mix of economic and political factors could interrupt the process.
BUSINESS
January 27, 2014 | By Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writer
  When applicants for Philadelphia's second casino license make their final public pitches this week, promises of jobs, wages, and spin-off spending will fly. But the key numbers to watch are the estimates of how much gamblers will lose playing slot machines, because those losses supply the bulk of the casino taxes flowing to state and local governments - the main reason elected officials took Pennsylvania into the gambling business nearly a...
NEWS
February 3, 2013 | By Jennifer Lin, Inquirer Staff Writer
Developer Bart Blatstein has a new operator for his proposed casino complex on North Broad Street, replacing the Hard Rock Casino organization with the Isle of Capri. Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. is a St. Louis-based public company that operates 15 casinos in six states in the South and Midwest. In Pennsylvania, the company has been approved to operate the Lady Luck Casino under construction at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Fayette County. Blatstein, founder of Tower Investments, said he had high regard for Hard Rock Resort & Casino International, owned by the 1,800-member Seminole tribe of Florida.
NEWS
May 4, 2012 | By Angela Couloumbis, INQUIRER HARRISBURG BUREAU
HARRISBURG — The state House of Representatives has approved a bill to hold a statewide auction to finally award the license that was yanked from the Foxwoods Casino project in South Philadelphia, but the measure is likely to hit a legislative brick wall once it lands in the Senate. On Wednesday, the House voted, 140-48 to open up the auction for the coveted license for a casino anywhere in the state, with bidding starting at $65 million. The state Gaming Control Board would have the ultimate say over where, and to whom, the new casino should go. If the bill were to continue gaining legislative traction, it could result in Philadelphia losing its right to a second casino under the state gaming law passed in 2004.
NEWS
May 2, 2012 | BY ANGELA COULOUMBIS, Inquirer Staff Writer
The license that was revoked for the ill-starred Foxwoods Casino project in South Philadelphia could soon be up for grabs - with bidding starting at $65 million. Pennsylvania legislators in the House are poised to approve legislation as early as Tuesday to hold a statewide auction for the coveted license. The minimum bid, according to the legislation, would be $65 million, and the state Gaming Control Board would have the ultimate say over where, and to whom, the new casino should go. "This would let the free market determine what price we would get for the casino," said state Rep. Curt Schroder, a Republican from Chester, the bill's sponsor.
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