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Plan To Allow Bars To Make Money From Gambling Hits Snag

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

david_highfield David Highfield
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It would be the largest expansion of legal gambling in Pennsylvania in nearly four years, a plan to allow thousands of bars to make money off gambling, but it has hit a snag in Harrisburg.

The bill passed the Senate without debate, but then there were last-minute objections from the governor and House Democrats.

Gambling has definitely affected business at The Park House on the North Side. The owner says there were fewer customers soon after the Rivers Casino opened a short distance away.

“The casino and the development of the North Shore took that away, so we’re to the point we don’t even open up on Steeler home games,” said Zamir Zahari, of The Park House. “We are not open anymore, it’s that bad.

The bill being considered would allow several thousand bars to get licenses to hold small games of chance, like daily drawings and raffles.

But the owner of The Park House says he’s not interested.

“It may help some bars, if you’re a bar that has a great neighborhood setting,” said Zahari.

But the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage Association, which represents bars and restaurants, posted on Facebook, “We made history today!” after the Senate passed the bill.

And in fact, the last major expansion of gambling in the state was three years ago when table games were added at casinos.

While gambling might work at some bars, Marjorie Landale, from The Map Room in Regent Square, doesn’t want it at her place.

“Honestly, I’m just not interested in having income come from gambling. It does bad things to people,” Landale said. “It makes them greedy, makes them angry if they’re not winning.”

House Democrats are worried about objections from the VFW and other groups who might not like the added competition for gambling dollars.

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