"What's black and white and read all over?"

Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Posted 10:29 PM by

Pa. regulators have slots of explaining to do

Bowing to public pressure, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will post on its Web site the names and percentages of potential slots parlor owners, but is still hiding most information from the public.Is the public getting hosed in Pennsylvania's quest to become one of the biggest states, if not the biggest, to offer legalized gambling? We might find out one of the key pieces to the puzzle soon.

That's because the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board reversed its decision and will reveal who will own 14 potential slots parlors/casinos and what stake in the winnings each person stands to get.

Bizarrely, this information will even be posted on the board's Web site, even though not much else pertaining to the license applications has been. Curious citizens are required to go to the board's Harrisburg office if they want to look at them.

"The board will continue to balance its obligation to follow the strict confidentiality requirements of the gaming act with its obligation to conduct an open and transparent licensing process," Chairman Tad Decker told the Associated Press today. "This will ensure that the public has confidence in the gaming industry and in the agency that oversees this industry."

No, only doing the process in full view of the public would do that. Cloaking everything under a confidentiality clause only heightens our suspicions we're getting screwed.

"This is a learning process for everyone, but fundamentally the board has to understand and adopt more proactively a policy that leans on the side of having the records open," said Christopher Craig, a lawyer for state Senator Vince Fumo.

Fumo, a slots proponent, held up passage of this year's state budget to push for gambling reform legislation and is still trying to get bills out of committee.

Meanwhile, one of the leading groups that helped secure last year's repeal of a legislative pay hike, Democracy Rising Pa. headed by taxpayer advocate Tim Potts, has added its voice to the growing number of Pennsylvanians who want the law legalizing slot machines repealed.

"Our concern is, and always has been, that lawmakers violated the Constitution when they passed the law in the dead of night on the 4th of July weekend in 2004," Potts wrote in the group's latest newsletter. "They gutted a two-page bill and replaced every word with 146 pages of new language. Because there were no public hearings on the final version, ordinary citizens never had the chance to see it until it was too late."

I've been saying the same thing for two years.

To see a complete list of who voted for the slots law, click here.
 |  0 comments  |  |  RSS Feed | Add to Technorati Favorites

This Week's Rants | The Daily Rant Archives

Creative Commons License
The Daily Rant by Dave Ralis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.