Senate Critics against Slot BillPublished July 25, 2003 by OCR Editor
Senate critics say the bill to legalize slot machines at Pennsylvania's racetracks strips away a variety of public protections that could cost taxpayers millions.
Senate Minority Leader Robert J. Mellow, D-Lackawanna is demanding a new round of talks on the bill, which House leaders and Gov. Ed Rendell have seized on as the primary funding source for a plan to cut school property taxes by 20 percent statewide.
Senate Democrats focused their criticisms on a provision added to the House bill at the request of lobbyists for Penn National Gaming Inc. that could exempt a future buyer of the Wyomissing-based company from licensing reviews by the state and paying the state's $50 million license fee.
Senate negotiators successfully insisted last month that any successor buyer of a slot license would need to face a separate state review and pay its own license fee.
The House version says the provisions need not apply to an acquisition of a publicly-traded company like Penn National, corporate parent of Penn National Racetrack in Dauphin County.