Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Channel 4 - Mayor Regrets Saying 'Fix Is In' For Slots License

Great tv story, now on line. - Channel 4 Action News - Mayor Regrets Saying 'Fix Is In' For Slots License Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy is backing away Wednesday from an earlier statement that 'the fix is in' for awarding the city's slots-parlor license.

Video: Watch Bob Mayo's report

Murphy's latest comments came after the head of the state gambling agency said Murphy should have provided details, gone to police or retracted his comments.

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Posted on Wed, Nov. 02, 2005
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Mayor expresses regret for saying `fix is in' for slots license


Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy backed away Wednesday from an earlier statement that "the fix is in" for awarding the city's slots-parlor license after the head of the state gambling agency said he should provide details, go to police or retract his comments.

Murphy told reporters last week he was worried that politics had influenced the selection process and that a leading candidate had emerged for the license.

But shortly after Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board chairman Tad Decker responded with indignation Wednesday, Murphy's office issued a conciliatory statement saying he regretted insinuating there were "possible illegalities regarding gaming."

"My comments were meant to reflect the situation locally, and not intended to impugn the work of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board," Murphy said. His office said no one was available to answer questions on the subject.

Decker said none of the board's seven members was aware of any such deal and pointed out that only the board will be able to award the 14 licenses called for under the law that allows up to 61,000 slot machines to help fund property tax cuts.

Rumors about some sort of deal have been floating around, but there has been no hard evidence, Decker said.

Alleging that "the fix is in" implies involvement by the board and that angered board members, he said.

He said the board was grateful for Murphy's "conciliatory words" and wanted to move on.

Another gambling board member, Joseph W. "Chip" Marshall III, spoke out about a different issue at Wednesday's meeting in the State Capitol, disputing published reports that he had blocked adoption of ethics rules that would ban the board from engaging in political fundraising.

"Let me be as clear as I can be. This allegation is wrong on the facts and it is unfair," Marshall said.

Marshall read from e-mails he sent to other board members indicating he wanted the issue - and the question of whether members can accept gifts - to be subject to further consideration and legal review before they were acted upon. He said he would favor a political fundraising ban if it will not do more harm than good.

"We must be careful not to create an absolute rule that makes absolutely no sense," Marshall said.

Also Wednesday, the Revenue Department said it had completed a five-year contract with GTech, of West Greenwich, R.I., to provide a central monitoring computer. GTech will be paid a percentage of gambling revenues but no more then $6.3 million annually.

The board also announced that it had received 13 applications for licenses by slot-machine manufacturers.


Pa. Gaming Control Board: