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Politics & Government

Senate Moves To Put Any Lottery Expansion Under Their Thumb

State senators are making a lunge for power in the waning legislative session.

Keno drawings and internet games offered by the Pennsylvania Lottery would need the General Assembly’s approval under a proposal amended by the state Senate. The same measure would outlaw video or monitor-based games. 

“It’s a major policy decision. It’s an expansion of gambling. It’s something that could potentially generate additional resources,” said Republican Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi.

Senate Republicans first raised concerns about signing off on new lottery games last year when the Corbett administration tried to authorize video monitors in restaurants and bars without going to lawmakers.

“The decision of whether or not we want to expand gaming and ... what we would do with increased revenue, they’re decisions that are properly before the General Assembly, not an executive branch bureaucracy,” said Pileggi.

A House GOP spokesman says the bill is likely to pass in the House if it comes over from the Senate.

The Senate is also pushing a measure to give the Legislature more influence over economic development grants. Senate Republicans want to take final say from the governor’s office and give it to a state board with legislative appointees. A spokesman for Governor Corbett has said he would veto such a measure.