07/20/2003 11:00PM

Penn. House passes slots

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The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a bill on Saturday legalizing slot machines at 11 sites in the state, including nine racetracks.

The legislation differs substantially from a bill passed in June by the state Senate that also legalized slots. Some Senate leaders have said that the two bills will be difficult to reconcile when the Senate reconvenes on July 28.

The House bill, which passed 120-81, would allow 3,000 slot machines each at Pennsylvania's four existing tracks, five yet-to-be-built tracks, and convention centers in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The number of slot machines could be later expanded to 5,000 at each site. The Senate bill would not expand gambling beyond racetracks.

Pennsylvania currently has two Thoroughbred tracks and two harness tracks. Pennsylvania regulators have awarded two other licenses, but one of the licenses is in limbo after a court ruling that nullified the award. Another two licenses are yet to be awarded. Eight companies have applied for the licenses.