Donatucci condemns VGTs in gambling expansion bill

HARRISBURG, June 7 – State Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, today voted against legislation that would dramatically expand gambling in Pennsylvania.

Donatucci, chairwoman of the House of Representative’s Philadelphia Delegation, said the expansion would not only saturate the gambling market at the expense of the Pennsylvania Lottery and the senior citizens programs it supports, it would further threaten the safety and quality of life of residents in the neighborhoods she serves and throughout Philadelphia. 

House Bill 271 includes authorizing up to 30,000 locations for video gaming terminals at licensed liquor retailers and establishments by the end of 2018 and 40,000 by 2020.

“Video Gaming Terminals in the 9,000 liquor license establishments across the commonwealth are bad for Pennsylvanians. They are bad for families, children, older Pennsylvanians, and bad for our state lottery fund and state gaming fund,” Donatucci said. “Philadelphia families don't want gambling in their corner stores.

“VGTs authorized in this bill are not all about helping bars and taverns but more about helping out those out of state VGT operators from Las Vegas and Chicago. They are all cued up to make hundreds of millions of dollars off the backs of Pennsylvania's bars and taverns, and our defenseless constituents," Donatucci said.

Donatucci added the "stop and go" liquor businesses that have been such a problem in Philadelphia would be eligible and that there is no distribution formula for ensuring that Philadelphia neighborhoods are not saddled with the majority of machines.