07/05/2004 12:00AM

Slots legal in Pennsylvania


Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania signed a bill Monday to legalize 61,000 slot machines at 14 locations in the state, including seven racetracks. The bill had passed both houses of the state legislature over the weekend.

The legislation legalizes up to 5,000 slot machines at each of Pennsylvania's four existing racetracks and at three racetracks that have yet to be built. The passage of the bill will also be cited by slots supporters in neighboring states like Kentucky, Ohio, and Maryland as evidence that those states need legalized slots as well.

Supporters have said that total slots revenue should hit $3 billion a year after all 14 sites are up and running in the state, perhaps in four years.

The owners of Philadelphia Park have estimated that the track's machines could raise $100 million each year for purses at the track, which would come to $500,000 a day in purses for 200 racing days a year.