State-sponsored rackets: Glaring hypocrisy
Pennsylvania's hypocrisy on gambling — keeping illegal barroom video poker that long has paid winners while operating a lottery and legalizing casinos — would be downright glaring under Gov. Tom Corbett's now-delayed lottery privatization deal with Camelot, the British firm that still hopes to offer keno in bars.
“Any video poker with payouts is unregulated and illegal in Pennsylvania,” says Eric Shirk, Gov. Corbett's deputy communications director, in the expected drone-like recitation defense of what is, by definition, nothing less than a state-sponsored rackets operation.
Yet many bars do pay winners. It's a wink-and-nod practice that occasional raids do little to deter (which, by the way, raises questions about selective enforcement).
Mr. Shirk says it's inaccurate to portray keno as a video poker alternative for bars. Yet a Camelot spokesman calls keno “a more convenient way for players to participate in social situations,” mainly in taverns and bars.
So, instead of legitimizing video poker payouts — and tavern owners' cut — Corbett would reserve legal barroom “action” for Camelot's keno. Oh, he'd also avoid $25 million in refunds that the state, under the 2004 casino legalization law, would owe each casino licensee if video poker payouts were legalized.
The continuing video poker ban is at odds with reality for tavern owners and patrons and with the state sanctioning so many other forms of gambling.
And if the Camelot deal eventually goes through and brings legal keno to bars, Pennsylvania's gambling hypocrisy will be more indefensible than ever.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- For the Pennsylvania House: Ortitay, Krieger and Logan
- U.N. Watch: Gun-grabbers unite!
- Early voting: Hardly healthy
- The Paycheck Fairness Act: It’s not needed
- Greensburg Laurels & Lances
- Alle-Kiski Laurels & Lances
- Philly’s schools: The real injustice