House tries to round up more support; tax rate still subject to much debate

In Pennsylvania, Democratic leaders of the state House of Representatives have delayed a scheduled vote to legalize table games at slots parlors while they tried to round up support for the bill.

“It became clear that members on both sides of the aisle felt they needed more time to review the content of this amendment,” said a spokesman for House Majority Leader Todd Eachus.

The House is scheduled to meet for only four days more before the holiday break, and gambling supporters are trying to win swift passage of the legislation to add table games. Supporters say new taxes and fees that casinos would pay would fill a nearly $250 million hole in the state budget, adopted in October.

In addition, the bill's passage would clear the way for approving $730 million in funding for museums, hospitals, and state-related colleges. Gov. Ed Rendell said that allocation hinges on approval of table games revenue.

The measure still requires Senate approval before it can become law, and wrangling over a prospective tax rate continues in both chambers. Rendell has said he would not sign a table games bill with a tax rate of less than 16 percent.