Gaming Control Board Refuses to Testify at House Republican Policy Committee Hearing
11/14/2007
Representatives question board’s reasoning, integrity
 
A House Republican Policy Committee hearing that was scheduled to be held today on the issue of gaming control has been canceled due to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s (PGCB) refusal to meet with legislators and explain their licensing decision.
 
Reps. Paul Clymer (R-Bucks), Doug Reichley (R-Berks/Lehigh) and Mike Vereb (R-Montgomery) were slated to co-chair the hearing. 
 
“Instead of instilling confidence, the Gaming Board’s refusal to explain itself only strengthens the public’s concern,” Reichley said. “The questions that have publicly arisen over the licensing of casinos have shown the absolute need for greater openness and disclosure of the rationale behind its decision making. Gaming oversight should always be about substantive discussion, not speedy approval.”
 
The committee wanted to meet with the PGCB to shed light on the type of criteria used to determine the financial stability of applicants. The law itself provides little to no direction on what type of guidelines the PGCB should use.
 
Section 13 of Act 71 of 2004, the legislation which legalized gambling in Pennsylvania, states: “The board shall require each applicant for a slot machine license to produce the information, documentation and assurances concerning financial background and resources as the board deems necessary to establish by clear and convincing evidence the financial stability, integrity and responsibility of the applicant.” 
 
“The purpose of this hearing was to get to the bottom of what type of criteria applicants needed to be considered to have ‘clear and convincing evidence’ of financial stability,” Vereb said. “This is not an unreasonable request. Why are the people at the Gaming Board dodging an opportunity to help restore the public confidence which is clearly shaken?”
 
Among the questions the committee wanted answered were:  how much time was spent on each applicant’s financial background check; how much time was spent on each applicant’s personal financial history; and what was the criteria for determining which applicants received a license?
 
The House Republican Policy Committee has taken on the issue of insuring integrity and transparency in Pennsylvania’s new gaming industry. Today’s hearing would have been the third in a series of hearings the committee has held on the issue of gaming.
 
“As issues of concern for the Commonwealth arise, the House Republican Policy Committee will continue to ask questions and expect answers from those individuals involved in the gaming industry,” said Rep. Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny), chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee. 
 
“Neither this issue, nor the concerns about licenses are going away. We will continue probing until we are satisfied with the answers,” Clymer said. “If the Gaming Board continues to dodge legislative questions, then clearly last year’s gaming reform bill was not enough. I can’t speak about the governor’s intent, but the legislative intent was not to create a super-agency above the law.”
 
Rep. Douglas Reichley
134th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
(717) 787-1000
Contact: Todd Abele
tabele@pahousegop.com
(717) 783-3957
Member Site: RepReichley.com
Rep. Mike Vereb
150th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
(717) 705-7164
Contact: Tricia Graham
tgraham@pahousegop.com
(717) 260-6296
Member Site: RepVereb.com
Rep. Paul Clymer
145th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

(717) 783-3154
www.PaulClymer.com
Contact: Tricia Lehman
(717) 772-9840
Rep. Mike Turzai
28th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

(412) 369-2230
www.RepTurzai.com
Contact: Tricia Graham
House Republican Public Relations
(717) 260-6296