Table games: that’s a wrap

A 103-89 House vote has finally wrapped up the 2009 budget process. A bill legalizing table games in Pennsylvania casinos is headed to Governor Rendell’s desk. He’s expected to sign it into law tomorrow – just one day ahead of the deadline he set to avoid 1,000 state employee layoffs.

Lawmakers are counting on the initiative to provide at least 250 million dollars in General Fund revenue this year, mostly from multi-million dollar fees that will be charged to casinos applying for table games licenses. Official word from the Gaming Control Board is that it will take six to nine months for the games to get up and running, though House Democratic staffers speculated after the vote that Pennsylvanians could be playing blackjack, craps, roulette and other games by Memorial Day.

House Majority Leader Todd Eachus’ reaction to the end of the 2009 budget saga? “Hallelujah.”  He noted how long it’s taken to finish things up. “We had a budget briefing that was scheduled today that the governor had scheduled for next year’s budget. We cancelled that. He’ll be rescheduling it.” Eachus says he’s confident that next year’s process will be smoother – but added the qualifier, “I can only pray.”

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About pubradiopolitics
Scott covers state government and politics for Pennsylvania's public radio stations, including WITF in Harrisburg, WHYY in Philadelphia and WDUQ in Pittsburgh.

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