Summary: Gambling has expanded quite a bit in Pennsylvania over the past year and even more could be on offer if a new candidate earns the House of Representatives seat.
It’s been less than a year since Governor Tom Wolf signed the Pennsylvania gambling expansion bill, paving the way for several changes to the gambling industry of the state. Having been passed into law in late October, the bill legalized online poker and casino gaming, online lottery games, satellite casinos and more. Now, it seems the gambling industry could grow even more, if a candidate running for a Republican position within the House of Representatives earns the seat.
Milton Street is running for a position within the House of Representatives and to earn the spot, has created a platform that centers around gambling. The goal of Street is to see school districts no longer have a budget deficit. His plans are to provide gambling games in public spaces within the 181st district, the area in which he would serve.
The district in question is part of a portion of Philadelphia as well as surrounding areas. Street has plans to introduce his proposal in January and outlined his plans to Jim Kenney, the mayor of Philadelphia. As reported by the PhillyVoice, the proposal would see video poker machines as well as bingo machines added to public areas including hotel lobbies, bars, the airport, barber shops and beauty shops.
In his outline, Street stated that the machines could bring as much as $360 million to the district on a yearly basis. Once expenses were paid, the remaining portion of the funds could then be used in the local school district.
Street feels that his idea would help to eliminate the estimated $700 million deficit that the school budget will face by 2022. The machines would remove any need for an increase in real estate taxes as well as a beverage tax to be used for preschool funding.
Street is very confident that his proposal will be accepted and that he will win the position as a new Representative for the state. He has decided to take a strategic approach to his efforts. He will first hold public hearings in the new year to include testimony by key officials such as the mayor, city council, school board, etc. He also plans on including testimony from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board discussing the impact of US online gambling on tax revenue.
While Street is confident in his plan, there are skeptics, including Mayor Kenney. The mayor still has questions about the proposal and wants to learn more. Scott Wagner, a republican gubernatorial candidate of Street has rebuffed the idea.
In the past, the district where Street is running has always sent a democrat to the House of Representatives. He is currently running against Malcolm Kenyatta and odds are that Kenyatta will earn the seat.
Mayor Kenney has yet to comment on the proposal by Street, but his spokesman, Mike Dunn did comment. Mr. Dunn stated that Mr. Street might want to look at what is being done in Harrisburg as video gaming was approve last year for airports and other types of facilities with a portion of revenues going towards education.
Dunn also pointed out that the mayor is reluctant to allow any more gaming in areas of Philadelphia where residents are struggling with poverty and gambling is a predatory practice.
It will be interesting to see if Street is successful in his efforts in gaming the House seat and moving forward with additional gaming. The time is ripe to see more gaming added, but it may be difficult for a republican to take the democratic seat in the current political climate.