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News and Insight On Winbak Farm

Read below for the latest on Winbak Achievements and graduates. Stories are from the leading industry news sources.

Rendell Signs Table Gaming Legislation

Monday, January 11, 2010  By: Standardbred Canada


Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell has reluctantly signed legislation for the legalization of table games in the state, according to a report by Harness Tracks of America.


After his threats to fire 995 more state employees, on top of 731 already let go in 2009, the house got off its collective butt and, with a day to go until the January 8 deadline Rendell had imposed, passed what the governor called a flawed bill.


“I signed this bill despite the misgivings I have about it,” Rendell said. “I have serious misgivings about ‘sin’ taxes as a way to go. There is no sense of celebration.”


He called the bill “laden with pork,” looking after special projects such as hospitals and schools in certain legislators’ districts.


“This is no way to run a railroad,” Rendell said.


Included in the provisions Rendell objects to is an exemption from Philadelphia’s indoor public smoking ban for Philadelphia’s two prospective casinos. “I don’t think it’s an improvement,” Rendell said, “to take away Philadelphia’s right to set its own rules on smoking. That part of the bill bothers me.”


All of the flaws may not have been the way to run a railroad, but it was a way to get the bill passed, with a promise of a quick infusion of $200 million in table game licensing fees.


Pennsylvania tracks, with Mohegan Sun at Pocono leading the way, were quick to act. The track, which enjoyed a 19% increase in slots revenue last year -- the biggest of any of the six racinos and casinos currently operating in Pennsylvania -- received a flood of applications for the 400 jobs track president and CEO Bobby Soper says will result from the table games expansion.


Soper also said passage could speed up plans for Mohegan’s nine-story, 300-room hotel planned to adjoin the track’s racino. Pocono Downs now has 2,466 slots, 10 restaurants, seven bars and six retail shops. The area’s Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza also will get a name change, thanks to Mohegan Sun. Later this month it will become the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, after the track agreed to pay Luzerne county $2.375 million over 10 years for the change.


(With files from Harness Tracks of America)


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