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Pennsylvania Fighting Over Video Poker

Written by:
Thomas Somach
Published on:
Feb/23/2009
Pennsylvania

Top government officials in the State of Pennsylvania are feuding over video poker.

Specifically, the state's two highest-ranking elected officials, the governor and the state attorney general, are clashing over the governor's plan to legalize video poker in the state, according to media reports.

Earlier this month, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell announced a proposed plan to legalize video poker throughout Pennsylvania and use the profits to pay for college tuitions for some state students from low-income families.

Thousands of illegal video poker machines are already in operation in bars and social clubs all over Pennsyvlania already, and the state government, whose budget is severely in the red this year, doesn't get a cent from them, Rendell said.

By legalizing those existing machines, adding some new ones and taxing the operators' profits from all the video poker machines, known locally as "pokies," millions of dollars can be raised for tuitions, he said

Rendell is a Democrat. 

The state's No. 2 official, Attorney General Tom Corbett, is a Republican, so it's no surprise he sees the issue in a totally opposite way.

In a speech last Sunday in the tiny town of Towanda, Pennsylvania, USA, Corbett blasted Rendell for his vid poker plan.

"The governor is suggesting that we offer financial assistance to thousands of students to attend our 14 universities and our 14 community colleges," Corbett said at the Bradford County Republican Committee's annual Lincoln Day Dinner, held at the Elks Lodge and attended by about 150 people.

"That sounds great," Corbett went on. "That's an easy thing to say. But how does he want to pay for it? He wants to legalize illegal video poker. What kind of an example does that set for the next generation?"

He continued: "College students will be able to say they are going to college because people lost most of the money they wagered on video poker, And they'll be able to say they were able to attend college because something that was illegal was made legal. Legalizing things that are illegal is a very slippery slope, What comes next? Legalizing marijuana?"

Uptight law-and-order man Corbett, who lusts to be the next governor after Rendell finishes out his second four-year term, then went further with his vice metaphors, in what almost became a rant.

Corbett sneered: "There are certain places in Nevada that have a sin tax on an industry that's the oldest industry in history. Is that what we need?"

So let's get this straight, Mr. Attorney General.

If the governor legalizes one so-called vice, video poker, in the Keystone State, that means other so-called vices will also have to be legalized?

Legal vid poker will mean legal marijuana?

And legal pot will then bring legal prostitution?

And then the whole damn state will become a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah of the Northeast, offering unlimited gambling, drugs and sex to any and all that seek it?

Where else in the USA where vid poker was legalized did this scenario ever happen?

Hint: Never.

So if Corbett, who has more problems with video poker than Don Imus has with black female basketball players, is dead-against the Rendell Plan, does he have a plan of his own?

"We have to bite the bullet," Corbett said. "This year will be a tough year financially for the state government, and next year could be even tougher,This will be a tough year financially for the Legislature and for state agencies, and for the governor and all the agencies under him. But you can't start using other forms of income like legalizing video poker in order to try to start new programs."

Even if the income is already coming in anyway, whether you want it to or not, and you can use it for education, instead of what gambling winnings usually go for: drugs, hookers and more gambling?

Thomas Somach, www.pokerhelper.com

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