Senate looks to lottery to help stretch Pa. revenues

    Pennsylvania’s Senate has adjourned for the year on a somewhat frenzied note as lawmakers search for solutions to looming budget difficulties.

    Most recently, Republican lawmakers have focused on the Pennsylvania Lottery as a potential source of additional tax revenues.

    They have proposed legislation that would privatize its management and expand the games offered, issues the Senate will take up again after its holiday break.

    But the commonwealth may have reached its saturation point for gambling, according to Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati.

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    “There really are so many dollars out there, but maybe these can be done if they’re done appropriately,” he said.

    Earlier this year, lawmakers legalized small games of chance in bars and taverns.

    The Senate also has ordered a study of the future of gambling in the commonwealth, and whether existing casinos could withstand the legalization of Internet gambling.

    “The real push to get this done is when I saw New Jersey do Internet gaming,” Scarnati said. “Their intent is to get customers back.”

    The House has one more voting week left in Harrisburg, but all of the revenue-driven gambling expansion proposals have started in the Senate.

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