While I favor the legalization of slots within The Commonwealth, commonly referred to Act 71, I don’t really appreciate the fact that Ed Rendell seems to be using the act to pay off political favors:
Boyd Gaming Corp and its partners submitted an application to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board late December 2005 to open a Slots Parlor and high-rise hotel on a 125 acre plot in Limerick, PA, just off the Sanatoga exit of Rte. 422 and adjacent to an outlet mall proposed by Chelsea Property Groups. A major partner to Boyd in this proposal is David Sweet, the former campaign manager for Gov. Rendell. The site for the proposed casino is not currently zoned for such a use.
Now, I don’t agree with the folks I linked to that Act 71 ought to be repealed. I think it needs some reform, but I do favor gambling being generally legal, so I think it’s a step in the right direction. The problem with the act is, there’s not enough protection to keep politicians like Governor Rendell from milking the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board for their own benefit.
My proposal would be getting the gaming control board out of the business of approving casinos. They should be licensed the same way liquor establishments are, and whether they ought to be approved for zoning left up to the local communities. I’d like to see the GLCB merely implementing regulations and taxes on gambling establishments as authorized by the state legislature. Anything more is going to invite cronyism.