Traverse City Record-Eagle


February 28, 2014

Another View: Expanding gambling option falls flat

Perhaps it’s good that every now and then, government gains a glimpse of the real world.

And so it is with Pennsylvania’s latest effort to squeeze the goose that lays the golden gambling eggs.

Last year, state lawmakers decided they could generate extra revenue by allowing bars and restaurants to run their own small games of chance. These facilities would require licenses and the commonwealth would get a piece of the action.

In fact, the anticipation of new money is no small matter. The state budget just proposed by Gov. Tom Corbett estimated revenues from these games in the coming fiscal year at $102 million.

But a funny thing happened after Pennsylvania began to accept applications for small games licenses. The rush to obtain them turned out to be a dribble. So far, just six entities have applied, and two of those applications were deemed incomplete.

Somehow, we find it hard to believe 50-50 raffles at four taverns will produce $102 million for Pennsylvania.

State officials are now trying to determine what went wrong. Initially, it appears blame will be laid at the feet of government bureaucracy.

The Senate Appropriations Committee conducted a hearing on the matter this week and questioned procedures required by regulators in order for a business to obtain a small games license. It turns out the process includes four different applications, fingerprinting and a $2,000 fee. All of the information is reviewed by multiple agencies, all of which can demand more information.

Considering the fact small games of chance aren’t huge money makers for those running them, it’s apparently beginning to dawn on lawmakers that the bars they believed would jump at the chance to make money for the commonwealth aren’t all that enthused. And while the bureaucracy set up to handle matters may be a factor, we’re not sure that’s the only problem.

Text Only

Opinion Poll
AP Video
Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast