Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella today announced that he will continue the practice of not accepting campaign contributions from gaming interests, despite a recent federal ruling that lifts the statutory ban on such contributions in state elections. Treasurer Torsella serves a unique role as an ex-officio member of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board and is the only elected state official to sit on the Board.
“Following this ruling, I want to be perfectly clear: I won’t take a dime from gaming interests, despite this federal ruling. As the only elected official on the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, it may now be legal for me to accept campaign contributions from the gaming industry, but it is still not ethical. Pennsylvanians should have trust that the best decisions are being made, not being bought”, said Treasurer Torsella.
Treasurer Torsella’s decision follows September’s U.S. District Court ruling that struck down the Pennsylvania statutory ban against campaign contributions from gaming interests in state elections as a violation of the First Amendment.
Given the history of political corruption in Pennsylvania, including cases associated with campaign contributions from illegal gaming interests, Treasurer Torsella also urged the legislature to impose a limit on contributions from gaming interests to prevent reoccurrence of criminal conduct, noting the extensive opportunity to influence gaming policy and licensing decisions.
“The court’s ruling suggests the General Assembly could rewrite the ban to pass constitutional muster, and I urge legislative leaders to do so as soon as possible.”
Pennsylvania Treasurer, Joe Torsella
Currently, there are approximately 30 licenses or certificates pending approval or renewal before the Gaming Control Board, in the form of applications for casino operator renewals, mini-casino licenses, sports waging operators, fantasy sports operators, manufacturer license renewals, iGaming operators, and video gaming terminal licenses.