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Casino Expansion Hearing Delayed in Pennsylvania

Bad news for Pennsylvania-based gamblers arrived last week with the news that a scheduled hearing in the House of Representatives to vote on the expansion of legalized casino gaming had collapsed.

The scheduled hearing – which many had hoped would see the House approve a bill to develop casinos in the area and generate some much-needed tax revenue for the cash-strapped state – was postponed for conflicting reasons, with House Democrats hoping to get the proceedings back on track this week.

The delay has come as a huge blow to universities in the area, with legislative approval of more than $700 million in funding tied to the passage of the bill, and Penn State warned that school operations were already suffering as a result of the hold-up.

“So far, we’re about $150 million behind and we’ve been dipping into reserves,” said university spokeswoman Lisa Powers. “Every day we do that, it costs Penn State’s students and their families”.

The planned legalization of table games was a key element in October’s state budget agreement, with the addition of games such as blackjack and craps to the state’s slot-machine casinos supposed to provide $320 million to help cover the $700 million in discretionary spending from Penn State, Temple, Pitt, Penn and Lincoln.

With the state still kicking its heels with regards to passing the new bill, Powers revealed that Penn State has been forced to freeze salaries, cut department budgets and delay renovation projects to get by. “I think everyone has their fingers crossed that the Legislature can be moved forward,” she commented.
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