2013-11-21 / Local & State

Small Games Of Chance Will Expand Into PA Bars, Taverns

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Thousands of bars in Pennsylvania will be able to offer small games of chance after Gov. Tom Corbett signed a bill giving final approval by lawmakers on Monday in the state’s largest expansion of gambling since table games at casinos, bringing millions in tax revenue to the state.

The 34-15 vote in the Republican controlled Senate came without debate. The bill narrowly passed the House last week, 102- 96, over the objections of lawmakers who are traditionally opposed to the expansion of gambling or those who worry that it would draw business away from veterans clubs that also serve liquor and are allowed to raise money through the games.

Some opponents also worried that the gambling would hurt revenue for programs for the elderly that are traditionally underwritten by the Pennsylvania Lottery.

Corbett’s office did not comment on the passage, but a spokesman said the Republicans will sign the bill.

Bar owners have sought legalized gambling for three decades after lawmakers gave private clubs and volunteer organizations – VFW posts, American Legion halls, volunteer firefighting squads, and Moose and Elks lodges – the ability to raise money through the games.

Top lawmakers threw their support behind it this year as they searched for additional revenue for a state government budget that is expected to be under considerable stress next year. and United Way of America. The local board was charged to distribute funds appropriated by Congress to help expand the capacity of food and shelter programs in high-need areas around the country.

A local board made up of a county commissioner, Mc- Connellsburg Ministerium, Fulton County Food Basket, American Red Cross, Fulton County Catholic Mission/Salvation Army will determine how the funds awarded to Fulton County are to be distributed among the emergency food and shelter programs run by local service agencies in the area. The local board is responsible for recommending agencies to receive these funds made available under this phase of the program.

Under the terms of the grant from the national board, local agencies chosen to receive funds must be private voluntary nonprofits or units of government, be eligible to receive federal funds, have an accounting system, practice nondiscrimination, have demonstrated the capability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs, and if they are a private voluntary organization, they must have a voluntary board. Qualifying agencies are urged to apply.

Fulton County has distributed emergency food and shelter funds previously with the Fulton County Food Basket, Christian Social Services, Fulton County Catholic Mission/The Salvation Army. These agencies were responsible for providing food, rental and utility assistance.

Public or private voluntary agencies interested in applying for emergency food and shelter program funds must contact Sister Margie Monahan, 110 South Third Street, McConnellsburg, at 485- 5917. The deadline for applications to be received is Friday, November 29, 2013.

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