HARRISBURG - Gov. Rendell today said he would be forced to lay off at least 1,000 government workers if the General Assembly fails to send him a table games bill by Jan. 8.

"The consequences are dire if we don't pass this," Rendell said at an afternoon news conference in the Capitol.

Rendell's comments came as the House adjourned until Jan. 5 without considering the gambling bill approved by the Senate yesterday.

The Senate passed the bill legalizing table games, 27-22, after rewriting key sections that House Democratic leaders immediately warned could doom the bill's final passage in the House - the most contentious being the approval of an additional resort casino license.

Rendell said that later today he would sign a bill authorizing $647 million funding for four state-related universities: Lincoln, Temple, Pennsylvania State and the University of Pittsburgh.

Rendell had earlier said he would not sign that aid legislation until he had a gaming bill that would bring in the necessary $250 million needed to fill a budget hole.