Pa. House to take up bill to legalize table games

October 4, 2009 10:50:56 AM PDT
State House members are expected to meet in an unusual Sunday session to take up a bill to legalize and tax table games such as poker and blackjack at slot-machine casinos.

The proposal is a key element of lawmakers' effort to come up with new tax revenue to offset the state government's massive, recession-driven budget shortfall.

The Democratic-penned measure passed the House Gaming Oversight Committee on Friday by a party-line vote of 14 to 11.

Leaders of the Republican-controlled Senate favor legalizing and taxing table games to help offset the budget shortfall, but they oppose some provisions of the House bill.

For instance, the bill would charge slot-machine casinos $20 million to operate table games and set a 34 percent tax rate on the revenue. Republicans believe the fee and tax rate should be smaller. Democrats want more revenue from gambling to avoid imposing taxes on small games of chance or certain arts events.

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