Vereb Gaming Reform Bill Passes the House
Legislation transfers Gaming Control Board’s Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement to the Attorney General’s office
Rep. Mike Vereb’s (R-Montgomery) legislation to reform Pennsylvania’s gaming law to provide for more thorough background checks of license applicants was passed today by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Vereb’s legislation transfers the Bureau of Investigations and Enforcement (BIE) from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) to a new gaming unit under the Office of Attorney General.
Rep. Mike Vereb (R-Montgomery) is pictured on the House floor during the debate on House Bill 262, his legislation to transfer the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement to the Attorney General’s office. The legislation passed the House by a vote of 126 to 72.
“Under the current law, it is impossible to complete a thorough background check on license applicants due to the fact that BIE officials are not recognized as law enforcement officers,” Vereb said. “As a result, several licenses were given to applicants with criminal histories and financial problems. My legislation fixes this problematic flaw in the original law, ensuring comprehensive background checks are completed and improving the integrity of the gaming industry.”
Under the current law, the BIE falls under the purview and authority of the PGCB and does not have full law enforcement powers. Over the past four years, the House Republican Policy Committee heard testimony regarding BIE being directed by top officials within PGCB to change its reports to ensure certain applicants were eligible to receive a casino license. As a result, several licenses were awarded to applicants with criminal background issues.
Vereb has been fighting to make the BIE independent from the Gaming Board since taking office in 2007.
“The current law is a breeding ground for corruption,” Vereb added. “As a former police officer, I cannot believe that an agency without law enforcement powers was given the task of conducting background checks. The first step in bringing integrity to this industry is making BIE independent of the board.”
House Bill 262 passed the House by a vote of 126 to 72 and has been sent to the Senate for consideration.
State Representative Mike Vereb
150th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Tricia Graham