Pa. GOP wants to bar lawmakers from gaming board

    A measure restricting appointments to the Gaming Control Board is the first of several gambling bills Pennsylvania House Republicans say they’ll push for, now that they control the chamber.

    The bill bars sitting or former lawmakers from appointment to the seven-member Gaming Control Board. Each legislative caucus gets to pick a member of the seven-person panel. The seat held by a former House Democrat expires this year, and former Speaker Keith McCall is rumored to be the caucus’s pick to fill that spot.

    “The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is not meant to be an additional retirement plan for the legislature,” said sponsor Rob Kauffman, a Cumberland County Republican. “The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is meant to have people who are highly qualified regulators on that board, not to rubber-stamp what the gaming industry wants done in Pennsylvania, but to regulate them.”

    Gaming Oversight Committee Chair Curt Schroeder said other bills are coming, including a measure changing the way casinos are investigated. “Representative (Mike) Vereb’s bill on the Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement,” he said. “Moving that out of the Gaming Control Board so it’s truly an independent body is another one we’ll be looking at.”

    The measure would shift investigative power to the state attorney general’s office, instead of a branch of the Gaming Control Board.

    Schroeder is also moving forward with a bill stripping the Foxwoods casino license from Philadelphia, and reopening it to a statewide bid.

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