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#2 Feb 15, 2009
Gov. Rendell’s “ACE IN THE HOLE”
Part - 2
But let’s say the governor has an ace up his sleeve and wins this hand, will the owners of these video poker establishments operate in the same fashion as our slot operators? For instance, will they be allowed to operate 24/7, and cash within a 24 hour period up to $2500 in personal checks? Will they be serving those gambling free booze, and enticing them with comps? Will the gamblers be able to smoke? Will they be issuing Reward Cards in order to track their patrons’ money and time spent gambling? And will they be under the jurisdiction of our Gaming Control Board? Will these mini casino address compulsive gambling the same way our slot operators do, with things like a 1-800 GAMBLER get help number, a 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week hotline that provides crisis counseling, and a self-exclusion list for those who become addicted to video poker? Will the mini casino operators and their employees be trained to identify problem gamblers? And if a patron becomes an addicted gambling degenerate, will they be held accountable like they are when an intoxicated patron destroys their lives or others?
Now I doubt this insidious idea will ever come to fruition. Especially since the slot operators who have held all the cards so far in Pennsylvania’s gaming fiasco are not about to share their slot spoils with ‘MINI ME’S’ But then again, what if that ‘ACE’ up the governor’s sleeve happens to be Rep. Bill DeWeese’s table game legislation that would turn Pennsylvania's slot parlors into full fledged casinos.
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