Political Contribution Ban For Casinos Not Equal

Published on: March 2, 2008 

The state of Pennsylvania’s recent ban on allowing their lawmakers to accept political contributions from casino firms is not all-encompassing or equal.  According to the wording of the law, licensed officers and key employees are not allowed to contribute to political campaigns.  This includes people such as casino department heads.   

But the ban is a bit lopsided in that employees of any horse-racing section of a casino, workers who are not licensed by the states gaming control board, and people with close ties to casino’s but are not licensed by the state are able to contribute to political campaigns.  Anti-gambling groups are worried that people working on the horse-racing side of the casino business will be finding ways to circumvent the ban, such as stating they work on the horse racing side when their job is really on the casino side.

The solutions to the problem is more enforcement to make sure it doesn’t happen or simply allowing the employees to ‘get away with it’ without repercussions.  These anti-gambling groups doe not feel that contributing to political campaigns are in the best interest of the community.  More than likely this issue would never be resolved during election time unless it is resolved as soon as possible.

When reviewing the past political contributions from casino employees it is very obvious that they were not acceptable under the law.  Lower paid employees are roped into making the contributions of upper management who are banned from the law, and there are other contributions that were made where the money went to utility companies that were trying to get resolutions on the ballot.   

At this point in time, all other political contributions from gambling establishment and casino employees are being scrutinized.  There is talk that enforcement will be required or the wording of the ban will need to be changed to encompass all casinos and casino activities.  The many groups that are lobbying about this problem are pushing towards a full ban on casino employees being able to contribute to campaigns.  If this goes into effect, casino employees on all levels will not be able to contribute to even the smallest political fund.   

With elections right around the corner, there are a lot of questions about political campaigns and contributions.  Contributions from casinos and their employees may seem to be a trivial concern, but when they can affect local elections, problems could arise and citizens may not be happy with the final outcome, ultimately claiming that the election was rigged.

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