House approves proposal to expand gambling in Pennsylvania

The plan to allow video gaming in bars was defeated earlier in the same session.

The Pennsylvania House gave preliminary approval to a proposal to legalise online betting and permit slot machines in airports and off-track betting locations.

US.- The Pennsylvania House gave preliminary approval to a proposal which aims to legalise online gambling and to allow slot machines in airports and off-track betting locations.

The chamber gave preliminary approval to the gambling expansion but without the video gaming terminals. Passing the legislation on to the Senate would require another vote by the House.

The preliminary approval came after Gov. Tom Wolf and the Republican-led Legislature enter what is supposed to be the homestretch in their annual budget negotiations.

“I think gaming expansion money in one form or another is necessary for this budget process to be complete,” said House Majority Leader Dave Reed, R-Indiana. He added that the initial proposal would generate about US$400 million, which amounts to half of the estimation from the video gaming terminals.

As Pennsylvania approaches the July 1 start of its next fiscal year, the Wolf administration and the Legislature have not indicated yet if they are close to a deal. On Tuesday, the governor backed away from his past requests for hikes in the personal income or sales taxes, however, his administration still says there’s a US$1 billion shortfall that needs to be closed.