PA State House Candidate Wants To Expand Gambling Even Further

Written By Grant Lucas on October 11, 2018 - Last Updated on January 18, 2024
Philadelphia City Hall

Not even a year has passed since Gov. Tom Wolf signed off on a gambling expansion bill in Pennsylvania.

Passed Oct. 26, the gambling legislation legalized, among other things, online poker and online casino games.

Now, Milton Street is out to further expand that gambling expansion.

Republican candidate in the race for the state House of Representatives out of the 181st district, Street established a platform to eliminate the deficit of school districts in the state.

That platform involves implementing gambling games throughout a variety of public spaces in his district.

Word from the Street

The district in which Street is running includes parts of Philadelphia and outlying areas. Recently, Street sent a letter to Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney, outlining his legislative proposal he would introduce in January 2019.

As shared by the PhillyVoice, Street proposed to install video poker and bingo machines in a variety of public areas. Among Street’s sites:

  • Airport
  • Hotel lobbies
  • Barber shops
  • Beauty shops
  • Bars

In his letter, Street estimated these machines would generate $360 million annually. After expenses, he detailed, all funds from said machines would go to the Philadelphia School District.

Street believes that money generated from video poker and bingo would “eliminate the projected $700 million deficit in our school budget by year 2022.” Those machines would also eliminate the need for an increase in real estate tax as well as the need for a beverage tax to fund preschools.

How Street plans on executing plan

“When the Legislative minority has its say,” Street wrote, “the majority has its way!!!”

Street emanates confidence in winning his district. Fun fact though, as the PhillyVoice noted, the 181st district has only elected Democrats since 1969. Even Street represented the blue district, in 1979 and 1980.) How confident? He’s already looking ahead. Wrote Street: “I’ll be sitting in a position of legislative strength.”

So Street detailed the approach to take in order to pass his proposed legislation.

Step 1: public hearings held in January, with testimony from the mayor’s office, the city council, the school board, the teachers union, home, and school associations and parents.

Step 2: Expert testimony from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

Aside from detailing his plan, Street wrote the letter in hopes of the mayor’s support in his candidacy.

“We must unite to keep real estate taxes down and, at the same time, financially support our newly-appointed School Board.”

Street’s plan has many skeptics

According to the PhillyVoice, Kenney still “has many questions” about Street’s proposal. Street already attempted to pitch his idea to Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner, though he was rebuffed.

Considering the 181st district’s history of sending Democrats to the statehouse, it would appear Street already sits behind the eight ball as he runs against Dem. Malcolm Kenyatta. To boot, while Kenney did not directly address Street’s proposal, the mayor’s spokesman, Mike Dunn, did.

“The candidate may want to check in on what’s going on in Harrisburg. He would learn that the Commonwealth last year approved the placement of video gaming in airports and other facilities, with some of the revenue dedicated to education.”

Continuing, Dunn noted that Kenney has “grave concerns about allowing additional gaming in portions of Philadelphia where residents struggle amid rampant poverty, and where gambling is a predatory practice.”

Expanding “such predatory practices,” Dunn said, “does not represent good governance, and is extremely detrimental to those who actually reside in the city.”

While it seems Street will not receive the support he desires, his plan comes at an interesting time. As noted, Pennsylvania approaches its first anniversary of legalizing a host of gambling platforms. The unprecedented nature of the Keystone State getting into gaming will only continue in the near future, as the first sports betting sites are expected to go live within the next few months.

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Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sportswriter who has covered the high school, collegiate, and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield, and Oregon State athletics and the Portland Trail Blazers throughout his career.

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