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Pennsylvania Colleges Waiting On Lawmakers To Decide Gambling Issue

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The state of Pennsylvania is moving towards full-scale casino gambling, and the day cannot arrive soon enough for state universities. Many of the colleges ion Pennsylvania are starting to get upset with the amount of time it is taking lawmakers to act on the issue.

Governor Ed Rendell signed a new budget in late October that has money marked for the universities. The money, however, will come from revenue from table game gambling, and lawmakers have not yet decided on a clear path towards the table games.

There are several proposals that will be discussed starting today when the legislature reconvenes. Even with the discussions starting, lawmakers have been slow to adopt a specific strategy for expanding casino gambling in Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, the governor has spoken this past week with several members of the legislature. His words to them were clear and to the point. Rendell does not like the pace with which the lawmakers have been tackling the table game issue.

"The governor has said legislative leaders need to get serious about the table games bill," said Gary Tuma, a Rendell aide, as reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "He is disappointed and frustrated. There seems to be no sense of urgency about this bill."

One of the main issues that needs to be resolved is the tax rate that slot casinos will pay on table game revenue. The range of ideas is wide when it comes to the tax rate, with the lowest proposal being the twelve percent that the casinos are pushing for. A House Gaming Panel is at the other extreme, wanting a thirty-four percent tax.

In the meantime, while the lawmakers begin to battle over the finalized legislation, the colleges are waiting for the state to appropriate money for different areas of need. That will not be done until the table game issue is cleared up.

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