We share one of state Sen. Pat Vance's concerns about gambling.

The people who place bets don't always have the money to do, she said.

"They're looking for a golden ring that they'll never find," said the Republican who represents parts of York and Cumberland counties. "It's an elusive thing they're seeking."

Vance cited that concern as a reason for withholding her support for a bill to legalize small games of chance to the states taverns.

However, the same can be said about Pennsylvania's casinos -- with their slot machines and table games -- and the state lottery system, which tempts residents at nearly every corner market.

The fact is, we've embraced gambling in Pennsylvania, for better or worse.

That bell has been rung - quite loudly, in fact - and there's little chance it can be "unrung."

Compared to other forms of gambling, small games of chance seem like, well, small potatoes.

We already allow nonprofits such as VFW clubs and Legion to conduct pull-tab games, daily drawings and tavern raffles, so why not bars?

Some critics of House Bill 1098 say it will hurt nonprofits by allowing bars to compete for gambling customers.

That might be, but we say, in fairness, it's a chance the Legislature should take.

We tend to agree with state Sen. Rob Teplitz. The Democrat who represents part of York County says he thinks the bars and the nonprofit clubs serve different audiences, and there wouldn't be much competition.


And yes, social clubs are legally required to donate some of their gambling profits to charity, but some organizations in the past ignored that rule.

When a law passed several years ago allowing nonprofits to keep more gambling revenue for their own use, some actually complained about the accompanying bookkeeping rules intended to ensure compliance.

While bars would not be required to donate any gambling profits to charity, the businesses do pay property taxes, unlike the nonprofits.

Municipalities actually would make out even better under the proposed legislation.

It includes a measure requiring bars to give host municipalities 5 percent of the proceeds from games within their boundaries.

The House narrowly approved the legislation, with changes, and sent it back to the Senate for reconciliation.

Given Pennsylvania's current gambling culture, the bill sounds reasanable to us, and we hope the Legislature sends it to Gov. Tom

Corbett, who has pledged to sign it.