Games of chance in Pa. taverns would be too much competition, fraternal groups say

    A controversial bill to allow raffles, drawings, and pull-tab games in Pennsylvania bars is getting blowback from veterans associations and fraternal clubs.

    Bar and tavern owners see themselves as winners under a proposal that would let them offer small-time gambling.

    The private clubs, where raffles and drawings have been permitted since the 1980s, are not willing to share their stake in the small games of chance.

    Allowing the games in bars would bring unwanted competition for gambling dollars, said Kip Watson, top administrator for the American Legion’s roughly 750 posts in Pennsylvania.

    “We’ve got a limited amount of funds that people spend on stuff like that and if they can stop in every tavern and every place that has a liquor license and buy small games of chance, it’s definitely going to hurt the clubs,” Watson said.

    A plan to legalize small games of chance in bars passed out of the Senate but stalled in the House.

    Some Republican House lawmakers raised objections, and there is also disagreement over how to spend the state’s cut of new gambling revenue.

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