Pennsylvania Mulls Video Gaming in Bars

A bill introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives would legalized gaming machines in bars, restaurants and clubs with liquor licenses.

Lawmakers in Pennsylvania are considering a bill to legalize video gaming in bars, restaurants and liquor-licensed clubs. Introduced by Rep, Eddie Day Pashinski the measure would authorize up to three video gaming machines in each qualifying establishment, with results linked to the central computer of the Pennsylvania Lottery for online tracking of revenue collections.

The bill would devote 45 percent of slot revenue to school district property tax rebates, with 23 percent of profit going to each licensee and 22 percent to licensed vendors. Host municipalities would receive 5 percent of the take.

The measure is being plugged as an additional hedge to high property taxes. A portion of revenues from current commercial casinos is devoted to property tax relief.

The Pennsylvania Senate is currently considering bills to legalize keno in connection with the lottery, and last year, lawmakers legalized small games of chance such as pull tabs, daily drawings and raffles for taverns. Applications for those licenses become available later this month, and the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is planning a series of free seminars on the games at the State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg beginning January 14.

The effort to expanded gaming could run into roadblocks, as the current casinos this year reported their first-ever decline in slot revenues.