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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: January 13, 2015 02:57 PM
From: Representative David S. Hickernell
To: All House members
Subject: Gaming Control and Authorization Act - Limit on Future Gaming Activity - (Former HB 547 - 2013-2014 Legislative Session)

In the near future I plan to reintroduce legislation that provides for the limitation of future gaming activity except by the authorization of the electorate of Pennsylvania or by a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly.

There are precious few issues that the General Assembly legislates on that can impact the people and communities of Pennsylvania in a greater way than when the Assembly and Governor authorize gaming. This issue, as has been evidenced in the debates of the past few years, requires the greatest amount of consideration. There are times when greater majorities, in absence of direct electorate approval, should be obtained to advance major social and policy changes, and I believe gaming should be one of those times.

Consider, for example, when the Assembly authorized 61,000 slot machines in 2004. While many Pennsylvanians may have approved of the Governor’s initial plan to introduce 15,000 slot machines in our Commonwealth, they may not have approved of the final product – 4 times the amount of gaming than was originally proposed.

As such, I believe that any future expansion of gaming in Pennsylvania should only be done by approval of the voters directly, or, in the alternative, by a two-thirds vote of the members of the Assembly. This is what my legislation would require.

My legislation holds harmless any current gaming that is authorized by Act 71. Further, it would not impact upon the Pennsylvania State Lottery, Bingo, pari-mutuel betting on horse racing, or small games of chance as is authorized by the Local Option Small Games of Chance Act.

Pennsylvanians deserve to be assured that the General Assembly will not, by virtue or necessity of needing new funds in the future, arbitrarily permit the expansion of gaming in our Commonwealth simply to effectuate some financial benefit. All too often governments seek easy solutions to financial constraints. My legislation will go a long way to ensure that this will not occur.


Introduced as HB324