Pennsylvania Rep. Kathy Manderino, D- Philadelphia, right, talks with Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Rep. Todd Eachus, D-Luzerne, center, during debate of final passage of the table games bill on the floor of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
With a 103-89 vote, the House today gave final approval to a bill legalizing table games at slots parlors.
The bill - which Gov. Rendell has said he will sign - is expected to bring 10,000 jobs and pump $250 million in badly- needed revenue into state coffers.
Passage of the bill averts the layoff of 1,000 state workers, which Rendell said he would have no choice but to do without a bill on his desk by Friday.
Supporters praised the bill as a job creator that will help Pennsylvania recover from the recession and said new restrictions will impose strict ethical laws on gambling board members, as well as casino owners and employees.
“The people spoke clearly, and the legislature listened with this table games bill,” said House Majority Leader Todd Eachus (D., Luzerne). “This bill is about creating jobs that pay family-sustaining wages, about bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars when budgetary times are tough, and about making sure that the men and women operating and staffing our facilities have to live up to some of the most stringent ethical standards in the entire industry."
Opponents, mainly Republicans, criticized the bill as "pork-laden" and not going far enough with reforms.
The bill authorizes racetrack casinos to install 250 tables for games such as poker and blackjack, while the smaller resorts casinos could have 50 tables.
State gaming board officials said it could be six to nine months until table games are installed at the state's nine operating casinos.
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