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In Pennsylvania, the legislature still is deadlocked in Harrisburg on the tax rate for table games at the state’s racinos and casinos, despite intervention by governor Ed Rendell, who told his legislators that the rate for blackjack, poker and dice needs to be at least 16%, and that setting it too high would “kill the golden goose.”

A spokesman for the Meadows, David LaTorre, concurred, saying, “if the tax rate and fees are too expensive, we simply won’t be able to install them. Table games are more labour intensive. We employ about 1,000 people for 3,700 slot machines, but we’ll need to hire about 700 people and add millions more in payrolls for just 65 tables.”

Both sides agree a $15 million fee to add the games is appropriate, but the senate wants a 12% tax rate and Rendell says that is too low and he will veto such a bill if it reaches his desk.

While the legislators debate the issue further, funding for state universities hangs in the balance, as does some $200 million expected to be raised by the state from the license fees and taxes. A spokeswoman for House Appropriations chairman Dwight Evans, a Philadelphia Democrat, said, “it’s in nobody’s best interest for this to drag on for weeks on end.”

(Harness Tracks of America)