House to consider video poker bill this week

    A bill that would legalize video poker in Pennsylvania will be introduced on the House floor later this week, and hearings will begin in mid-April.

    A bill that would legalize video poker in Pennsylvania will be introduced on the House floor later this week, and hearings will begin in mid-April.

    Listen:
    [audio: reports20090407poker.mp3]

    When Governor Rendell announced a plan to legalize video poker to pay for tuition breaks at State System of Higher Education schools in February, he asked lawmakers to pass the measure as quickly as possible.

    But the actual bill isn’t going to be introduced in the House until later this week.

    House Democrat Dante Santoni of Berks County is the legislation’s prime sponsor. He says Rendell’s time-frame isn’t impossible, but hinted it’s unlikely.

    Santoni: We’re going to be deliberate. We don’t want to rush something through that’s not going to work. We want to make sure we have all the facts, all the information, all the input as we travel the state. And make sure that we do it right, rather than fast.

    Santoni says the Gaming Oversight Committee, which he chairs, will hold a series of hearings on the bill beginning in mid-April.

    His measure puts the statewide video poker system under the purview of the Revenue Department, rather than the Gaming Control Board.

    Santoni says that’s because he agrees with Rendell’s argument that legalizing the system in bars wouldn’t be an expansion of gaming, since illegal machines are already prevalent in the state.

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