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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: December 30, 2016 01:01 PM
From: Representative Ed Neilson
To: All House members
Subject: Authorizing Airport Gaming in Qualified Airports
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that would allow airports located in Pennsylvania to work with existing licensed casinos to operate certain types of gaming, including traditional slot machines and interactive gaming on tablets, within its terminals.

My proposal would utilize the revenue generated from airport gaming to tackle the state's growing pension crisis and address the funding issues facing our state's public schools.

Pennsylvania is still a global leader in gaming regulation. We are still the second largest gaming market in the country, behind Nevada, and we continue to collect the most tax revenue from licensed casino gaming. Banking off of our successes, other states, including bordering states like New York, New Jersey, Ohio and Maryland, are looking to expand their gaming opportunities. This competition has already forced Pennsylvania to look into new ways to generate new gaming revenue.

Last session the House of Representatives passed a comprehensive gaming reform bill that included airport gaming – a proposal that was based on a report issued on May 7, 2014 by the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee. This report highlighted the potential of airport gaming as a way to generate additional gaming dollars. The study concluded that Pennsylvania could generate significant revenue from this authorization, and there would likely be no cannibalization of existing Pennsylvania casinos with the addition of these new machines.

In addition, with emerging technology, the Commonwealth must be innovative in their approach to new gaming opportunities. Tablets and other multi-use devices could be a profitable and secure way to allow airport gaming to flourish and be integrated into the amenities offered to ticketed passengers.

My legislation would seek to limit the number of slot machines at each qualified airport. In addition, access to airport gaming would only be available in secure areas of the terminal, after TSA checkpoints, and would be available by those ticketed passengers only. All of the current regulations relating to licensed gaming would apply to this new form of gaming.

I hope you will join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.