A non-profit organization pleads with Wolf to veto the new gambling expansion bill.
The Pennsylvania Family Institute identifies themselves as, “a non-profit family policy council focused on promoting the sanctity of life, religious freedom and building stronger marriages and families as the basic building block of society,” and they do not see the new bill fitting in with their vision for our state. They state, “What began as a six-page bill intended to set up a phone number to help compulsive gamblers turned into a 939-page bill rushed for passage in the legislature that would cause harm to Pennsylvania communities and is something Governor Tom Wolf should now veto”.
This, after only one of the officials from Pennsylvania voted for the bill; all others voting against. “Our legislature has a compulsive gambling problem,” said Michael Geer, President of the Pennsylvania Family Council. “And it’s going to hurt more families across Pennsylvania. What started as a bill to help compulsive gamblers turned into a behemoth of a bill rammed through the legislature that brings some of the most addictive forms of gambling into communities across our state.”
The Senate approved on Wednesday afternoon a revised version of HB 271 with hundreds of pages added. The House then passed the bill within the next 24 hours – actually voting down a measure to delay the bill by a day to allow members to analyze the changes.
Furthermore, the organization says the bill would authorize, ‘the crack-cocaine of gambling,’ which they say are the video gaming terminals. It will allow any business selling diesel to have up to five of these terminals. After, they say, Pennsylvania is already the nation’s #2 commercial casino state, behind only Nevada.
In their plea to Wolf, they say that “The National Council for Problem Gambling reports that 2% – 3% of the US population has a gambling problem. That means there would be at least 255,000 Pennsylvanians currently with a gambling problem. Thousands of Pennsylvanians have already put themselves on the casino self-exclusion list – a voluntarily action to try to keep them away from casinos. This list has multiplied by more than 43 times since 2006.”
“If you could buy stock in the compulsive gambling industry, sadly now may be a time to buy in Pennsylvania,” said Tom Shaheen, Vice President for Policy of the Pennsylvania Family Council. “Should Governor Wolf sign HB 271, Pennsylvania will become perhaps the most susceptible state to gambling addiction, with now even more ways for Pennsylvanians to lose their money and become addicted. Is giving families more ways and more places to gamble away their money really in the public’s best interest?”
No word yet on Wolf’s decision.