Gambling for good?

Thought the debate about gambling was over? Think again. According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, a bi-partisan group of lawmakers has joined together to renew a push to expand the games of chance non-profits use to raise money. The bill would mean bigger prizes for 50/50 drawings, poker tournaments, and casino nights at local charities.

Solobay and Republican Rep. Sheryl Delozier on Friday urged House leaders to move forward with the small games bill.

"Our community groups are struggling to meet their expenses and fund projects and services throughout our local communities," Delozier said. "This legislation has bipartisan support."

The bill seems straight forward enough -- since we just legalized table games in casinos, why not help nonprofits? But some lawmakers want to go further.

Rep. Eugene DePasquale, D-York, is finalizing another bill that would expand small games of chance prizes for nonprofits and legalize small games in taverns. DePasquale said his proposal would tax such games in taverns but not in clubs and social halls.

That's a jump from helping just non-profits. Does it mean we could have mini-casinos in bars across the city? DePasquale's bill deserves a lot of scrutiny. In fact, it probably makes sense to break the legislation into two bills, one dealing with non-profits and another set of regulations for bars. The two proposals are clearly too different to be lumped together.

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