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PAVGA is making progress – and headlines – and we continue to advocate for the legalization of video gaming terminals in Pennsylvania. Please check back often as we continue to add announcements and news stories to this growing list.

Lehigh Valley lawmaker rolls the dice in gambling expansion vote

The Lehigh Valley’s only lawmaker thus far supporting a House bill to add up to 40,000 video slot machines in the state happens to be an avid gambler herself.

Rep. Marcia Hahn, R-Northampton, has claimed earnings from casinos five out of six years she has filed Statement of Financial Interest forms with the state Ethics Commission.

Hahn was first elected in 2010. Her first filing was the following year. 

Mt. Airy Casino and Sands Casino are her establishments of choice, according to financial forms filed between 2011 and 2016. Legislators aren’t required to list the amount of income, but are required to disclose where any outside income came from. Below are the details listed on those forms:

  • 2011: Mt. Airy Casino (Slot winnings)
  • 2012: Sands Casino (Raffle winner)
  • 2013: No winnings
  • 2014: Mt. Airy Casino
  • 2015: Mt. Airy and Sands Casino
  • 2016: Mt. Airy and Sands Casino

The slot machines and raffles haven’t quite paid off for Hahn, despite the income claimed.

“I’d probably say I lose more than I win,” she said in a phone interview.

The House bill, approved 102-89 on Wednesday night, would legalize video betting machines in bars, nursing homes, VFWs, volunteer fire halls, restaurants, bowling alleys, truck stops, hotels and other places licensed to sell alcohol. The machines, known as video gaming terminals, or VGTS, are strongly opposed by all but one of the state’s casinons and a majority of the Senate.

The House added the VGT piece to a Senate plans that would legalize fantasy sports, internet betting and let the Pennsylvania Lottery sell tickets online.

The bill is now in the Senate, where Hahan may find company. Sen. Lisa boscola, D-Northampton, is a VGT supporter.

If the bill dies in the Senate, it could leave a $150 million hole in next year’s budget. That’s how much Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration has earmarked in estimated tax revenue from expanded gambling in the fiscal year that starts July 1.