Inertia Finds an Empty Slot in Pa

By Heyl, Eric | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 18, 2006 | Go to article overview

Inertia Finds an Empty Slot in Pa


Heyl, Eric, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Even by the lofty standards of Pennsylvania government, this is a pretty impressive display of inertia.

State legislators approved legalized slots casinos nearly two years ago and established a new bureaucracy to regulate them -- the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

The seven-member board is appointed by Gov. Ed Rendell, Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Jubelirer, Senate Minority Leader Robert Mellow, House Speaker John Perzel and House Minority Leader Bill DeWeese.

(Identifying those officials is relevant for reasons that will appear clear shortly.)

Since the board's inception, the slots industry really has taken off here. The number of casino licenses that the board has awarded across the state is rapidly approaching, uh, one.

Board Chairman Tad Decker warned Thursday, however, that remarkable progress soon might be halted indefinitely.

Seems the panel can't agree on how best to make a few people fabulously wealthy for performing an unnecessary service duplicated nowhere else in the country.

The board is stalled on rules and regulations for slots suppliers.

The supplier applicants are politically wired individuals. They will function as needless middlemen, purchasing slot machines from manufacturers, then turning around and selling them to the casinos at what undoubtedly will be a large and unearned profit.

Under state law, the board can't license casinos until it licenses suppliers.

Decker warned that the board could have difficulty licensing slots suppliers if it doesn't do so before losing its power to issue temporary gaming regulations at this month's end.

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