Top Republicans say they want to amend Pennsylvania’s gaming laws, and take the revoked Foxwoods casino license away from Philadelphia. Republican Curt Schroeder, the incoming head of the House Gaming Oversight Committee, said he’ll introduce a bill next year reopening the Philadelphia-specific casino license to a statewide bid. Senate Republican leaders indicate they’d seriously consider the measure if it passes the lower chamber. Senate GOP spokesman Erik Arneson said Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi might be willing to go a step further, and pass a law disbanding the license altogether. “We have a lot of experience now with casinos in Pennsylvania,” he said. “And there could be the argument made the casino market in our state is saturated. And Senator Pileggi would be very willing to listen to those kinds of arguments as well.” Disbanding the license would almost certainly put a dip in projected gaming revenues – then again, the money has been coming in without a Foxwoods license for several years now. Gov. Ed Rendell was recently asked about the statewide license push. He said it’s not his call, since he’s leaving office, but then proceeded to voice the argument against keeping the license in Philadelphia. “Bucks County – Parx – Harrah’s in Chester, SugarHouse in Philadelphia. And it’s likely that the Valley Forge license will be granted,” he said. “So they might decide Philadelphia’s got too much. On the other hand, they might look at the state, take a look and say, where is there part of the state that needs another?” He answered his own question: “The only major sort of metropolitan area that doesn’t have one is Johnstown/Altoona. And query whether Johnstown/Altoona – State College – query whether that area could support one. Look, that’s their decision.” Casino laws dictate a certain distance between each gaming parlor, depending on whether it’s a Category 1, 2 or 3 establishment. The Erie, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre markets already have casinos, and the Gaming Control Board is expected to award another resort casino license next month, as well. A measure reopening the Foxwoods license for bid passed a Senate committee this session, but never saw a floor vote.
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