07/28/2003 11:00PM

No decision on Pennsylvania slots


The Pennsylvania Senate broke for the summer late Monday without addressing legislation that would legalize slots at racetracks, dimming the chances that a bill expanding gambling at tracks will be passed this year.

Both the Pennsylvania House and Senate have passed separate bills legalizing slots at tracks, but members of the leadership of both bodies disagree on what form expanded gambling should take. The leaders have said they do not believe that legislators and Gov. Ed Rendell, a proponent of slots at tracks, will be able to agree on a bill this year.

On Monday, the Senate met for a one-day session that focused nearly entirely on an education bill. After the session ended, the Senate recessed, with plans to meet again briefly in September.

In the latest action on the slots legislation last week, the House bill was sent to the Senate rules committee. The rules committee chairman, David Brightbill, has said that the committee will not take up the bill.

Members of the Senate have said that the House bill goes too far by legalizing slots at nine racetracks and two other locations. The Senate bill would allow slots at eight racetracks.

Pennsylvania has two Thoroughbred racetracks and two harness tracks. The prospect of slot-machine legislation has set off a fierce competition for the remaining four licenses allowed under state law.