Stacked deck

A study released yesterday by Common Cause Education Fund found the gaming industry gave $4.4 million in campaign contributions to political candidates and committees in Pennsylvania from 2001 to 2008. Another $12.3 million in contributions came from lawyers and lobbyists licensed to represent the state's 14 slots parlors.

Of course, the main beneficiary has been Gov. Ed Rendell, who has received more than $1 million in campaign contributions from gaming interests. Rendell has been the main advocate for legalized gambling. Overall, the top three givers are:

1. Ira Lubert & Lubert-Adler Management, an investor in slots parlors in Valley Forge and Pittsburgh, who has given more than $450,000.

2. Peter DePaul, an investor in the Foxwoods slots parlor planned for Philadelphia, who has given more than $425,000.

3. Louis DeNaples, the original owner of the Poconos slots joint, who has given more than $400,000. 

The 2004 gaming law prohibited contributions from the gaming industry to elected officials. But the state Supreme Court ruled recently that law was declared unconstitutional. Look for the money to flow as lawmakers - led by state Rep. Bill DeWeese - push to turn the slots parlors into full-blown casinos by legalizing table games. Read the study by Common Cause below.