State Rep. Jerry Knowles (R-Berks/Schuylkill) expressed deep disappointment at the passing of Senate Bill 711, which authorizes table games like black jack and poker in Pennsylvania.
Knowles, who opposed the legislation, questioned the reasons for pushing the bill through the House.
"First, gambling advocates told us it was to save the horseracing industry," said Knowles. "Then they told us it was necessary to save jobs. Then they told us it was necessary to create jobs. The fact of the matter is, state government is unable to control its spending and they see table games as way to keep the money flowing."
Knowles also expressed concern that the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) has not met the responsibilities it has already been given.
"The board has not demonstrated that it can execute the responsibilities it already has," Knowles continued. "Two of the slots casinos that have already been approved remain unopened, yet we are giving them even more responsibility.
"In addition, despite the fact that PGCB employees are legally prohibited from going to work for the gaming industry for a period of one year after leaving the board's employ, there is an apparent revolving door that exists between the board and the casino industry," he added. "Until these problems are addressed, it simply does not make sense to give the board even more responsibility."
Knowles said that he is especially concerned about expanding gambling when the industry has failed to keep the promises it made when slot machines were legalized.
"Slot machines were legalized with a promise of significant property tax reduction. That promise has not been kept," Knowles said. "The only way we should even consider expanding gambling would be if the revenues from that expansion are used to deliver on the promises of property tax elimination which were already made."