State senate passes Internet gambling bill

VIDEO State senate passes Internet...

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania State Senate passed a bill Wednesday that could allow Internet gambling. It would also pave the way for electronic gaming at bars and even Lehigh Valley International Airport.

During the MGM/Sands negotiations, apparently now collapsed, the Sands Bethlehem stopped its $90 million expansion plans.

Now those plans could still be in jeopardy.

The Sands told 69 News it doesn't want to see gambling expand in Pennsylvania. They call it short-sighted and job-killing.

"It's just going to move people from bricks and mortar casinos to bars and pubs or online. Certainly it would have an impact on our ability to expand or reinvest in Sands Bethlehem," said Ron Reese, senior VP of communications for LV Sands Corporation.

Bethlehem Mayor Bob Donchez wants to see the expansion, not just of gambling on the site, but other projects the Sands is involved with. He has three priorities.

"Number one, to hopefully see the expansion of the casino. Number two, to see more development and investment on the Beth Works site. Number three, the 500 car garage that's been in the works the last 5 years," Donchez said.

The Sands said they want to expand if the conditions are right and touted what they've already done.

"We've invested $900 million at Sands Bethlehem. and it's created thousands and thousands of jobs and created local economic and state economic benefit," Reese said.

According to Donchez, if Sands doesn't want to expand, they should move aside.

"If they're not interested in developing the site, then I think they should seriously consider selling off acreage for development because there are many other developers that are interested," Donchez said.

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