Measure allowing games of chance in taverns clears Pa. House

    A proposal to legalize small-time gambling in Pennsylvania bars has cleared the state House and will go back to the Senate for approval.

    The measure would allow thousands of bars and taverns to offer small games of chance, such as raffles and drawings.

    The state would get 60 percent of revenue, while the hosting municipality would get a 5 percent cut. The bars and taverns would keep the rest.

    It’s a way to give bars another revenue opportunity, said state Rep. Paul Costa, D-Allegheny.

    “These taverns are run and owned by our neighbors and friends. These are family-run businesses that, over the years, we keep … making it harder and harder for them to make a living,” he said. “This is going to give them the ability to keep their businesses open.”

    Such games are now only available in private clubs, including VFW posts, fire halls, and Moose lodges.

    Clubs say legalizing the games in bars will eat into their gambling business and minimize both the money they can donate to charitable causes and the funding that’s helping them prop up their operations.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal