Penn Senate Finalizes Bill in Slots Middlemen Dispute

The Pennsylvania state Senate approved legislation Tuesday that would abolish a requirement that slot-machine manufacturers use in-state middlemen to sell their equipment to Pennsylvania gambling casinos. However, the Republican-penned bill also carried a Democratic-sponsored amendment that would help pay for casino gambling related law enforcement costs increasing the state’s tax on the operators of the state’s casino slots parlors.

The bill passed 29-21, largely on the strength of Republicans, who have criticized the distributor requirement in the state’s 2004 slot-machine gambling law as an intrusion into the gambling industry intended to benefit well-connected businessmen. Democrats defended the distributor requirements as a way to create job opportunities for small businesses in Pennsylvania.

But the provision to raise taxes on slots revenues 4 percent is sure to complicate the bill’s prospects in the House, particularly with the 52 percent base tax rate on slots revenues already criticized the industry as high.

Casino Gambling Funds from Gulf Coast to Cover Insurance

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Two lawmakers are proposing a stream of money, generated taking a portion of the growth in Mississippi casino gambling revenue, to hold down homeowner insurance rates on the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast. Earlier this year, the Mississippi Windstorm Underwriting Association, commonly known as the wind pool, requested a rate increase of 400 percent as a result of the devastation caused in August Hurricane Katrina.

In an effort to reduce the amount of the increase needed the wind pool, Gov. Haley Barbour set aside $50 million of the federal Community Development Block Grants funds awarded to the state for hurricane recovery. While the block grant funds will hold down the size of the needed increase for the wind pool, it is not clear what amount. Insurance Commissioner George Dale has not yet acted on the rate increase request.

PGA Allows Tournaments At Casinos, But There Are Rules

The B.C. Open at Turning Stone Resort and Casino is one of only three PGA Tour events this season to be hosted at a site with a casino.

The tournament, which will be played July 20-23 at Turning Stone’s Atunyote Golf Club, was relocated because of unplayable conditions caused flooding at En-Joie Golf Club in Endicott.

The other two tournaments at courses with a casino on site or near are the Reno-Tahoe Open in late August in Reno, Nev., and the Frys.com Open in October in Las Vegas.

Having golf tournaments near a casino is nothing new to the PGA Tour. The Frys.com Open has been played on courses at the Desert Inn, the Dunes, the Showboat and the Tropicana, all famed Las Vegas resorts that also feature gaming.

PGA Tour officials have few concerns about Turning Stone or any other venue that has gaming ties, said Bob Combs, senior vice president of communications for the PGA Tour, as long as tournament organizers follow strict guidelines.

Combs said the tour stipulates that no connection with gaming appear in the event’s title, advertising or at the golf course. That is why the word casino has been dropped from Turning Stone’s title in its tournament sponsorship, he said. The event is officially known as the B.C. Open presented Turning Stone Resort.

“We would draw a distinction. If it was a casino only, our regulations would not permit it,” Combs said. “Turning Stone is a resort associated with a casino. It’s a resort with all of the amenities, lodging, food and golf course. Our agreement is with the resort.”

Sportsbooks Have Yankees Missing Playoffs

The most popular sports gambling sites on the web are betting the NY Yankees will not make the playoffs this season. Now that the MLB All-Star game is over and the 2nd half of the season gets underway, the playoff stretch will begin as the top contenders try to separate themselves in the next three months.

Star players going on the DL, an aging pitching rotation and several other American League clubs enjoying great seasons, have many believing this will be the 1st season the New York Yankees miss the playoffs under Joe Torre.

After originally opening as favorites in Spring Training to make the postseason for a 12th straight season, Pinnacle Sports lists the Yankees as underdogs to make the 2006 MLB playoffs.

The largest sports gambling site on the Internet, Pinnacle Sports opened betting with the NY Yankees as a 5/8 favorite to be playoff-bound again this season. Within less than 2 weeks, sports bettors flocked to the site backing another Yankees postseason appearance, which moved the odds to an overwhelming 2/9 favorite.

Ten Cent Horse Bet Turns Into $21,000 Win

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The woman, whose name has not been released the state gaming commission, made two 10-cent Superfecta wagers Friday on a race being simulcast from the Hollywood Park track in Englewood, Calif.

“One of them won,” said Chris Locking, general manager at Sports Creek. The woman returned to the track Monday to cash her winning voucher. “Pretty good return for 10 cents, isn’t it?”

In an effort to lure patrons, Locking said, many tracks nationwide have introduced 10-cent “gimmick” action like the Superfecta, which requires gamblers to pick the four top-finishing horses in correct order.

“It’s been very successful,” he said. “Twenty-thousand doesn’t happen every day but on a regular basis you’ll see people winning $70, $200, $500 on a dime bet.”

Time to Offer Sports Betting in Atlantic City Casinos

With slot parlors soon to open in Pennsylvania, it’s time New Jersey let Atlantic City expand its sports gambling options. It now appears that the first Pennsylvania slot machine parlors could open this year. The gambling competition for Atlantic City, a vital part of the South Jersey economy is creeping closer.

If New Jerseyans and state lawmakers want to see Atlantic City keep a leg up on the competition in surrounding states while bringing needed additional money into state coffers, and they should, Trenton ought to allow gamblers to bet on sports in Atlantic City casinos.

Pennsylvania gambling regulators came to a decision on slot machine distributors Wednesday that could allow for the first slot machines in that state to be up and running before year’s end.
Delaware has had slot machines in its horse racing tracks for several years now. And in West Virginia, state lawmakers are discussing allowing table games such as blackjack and poker at racetracks that already have slots.

Atlantic City draws visitors from all these states and others along the East Coast that have allowed or expanded gaming options in recent years.
If Atlantic City is to keep luring visitors from outside New Jersey, it must offer attractions not available at racetracks and casinos in neighboring states.

The wide array of new stores, restaurants and night clubs that have opened in the wake of the Borgata’s 2003 arrival and recent expansion are one new draw that appears to be working.
But the city’s casinos must also be able to expand their gaming options.