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The state Senate’s top leader predicted Friday that the Senate next week will eliminate a controversial provision in Pennsylvania’s gambling law that requires suppliers to sell slot machines to gambling casinos.
“The bottom line is there’s a very, very good chance the Senate will abolish the distributorships,” Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Jubelirer, R-Altoona, said in an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
While proponents say using middlemen to sell machines will create business in the state, critics say it opens the potential for patronage and criminal activity. Jubelirer, a slots opponent, said he doubts the Senate would approve other major changes, such as reallocating licenses for 14 casinos.
Legislative and industry sources have been speculating this week that House Minority Whip Mike Veon, D-Beaver Falls, through his caucus’s Gaming Control Board appointee, former state Rep. Jeffrey Coy, is holding up the process of board-awarded supplier licenses as leverage to obtain a casino in Beaver County.
Speculation intensified Monday after a Commonwealth Court ruling virtually killed the chance of a harness track along Route 60 in Beaver County and boosted the odds for a track in Lawrence County.
Many Capitol insiders then predicted that Veon might try to change the law next week as legislators consider amendments to the two-year-old slots gambling law. The speculation focused on attempts to give the gambling board discretion to reallocate a stand-alone casino license for Beaver County.
“It would be highly controversial whether he could get that done,” Jubelirer told the Trib. “It would be very difficult to achieve that.” An avid gambling supporter, Veon was a key player in drafting the slots