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Pennsylvania Casinos still waiting for new gaming legislation
- January 24, 2017 By Nemanja L. -
Pennsylvania’s gaming industry is in disarray after the recent Supreme Court decision to give the state’s General Assembly more time to change the gaming tax laws.
The current legislation came into effect in 2006, and obliged all of the Pennsylvania’s 12 casinos to pay a tax levy of 2% of its yearly gross slot revenue or $10 million dollars – whichever came first – and that act held unopposed until recently.
Rivers Casino from Pittsburgh was the first to complain about this, stating that the levy was unfair because of the difference in the earnings of the aforementioned 12 casinos. This started a debate on the issue and soon another casino filed a similar complaint.
After the legal teams of aforementioned casinos jumped on the stage, the Supreme Court agreed with the objections and ordered the General Assembly to institute a fairer system of taxation by January 26.
The Deadline Has Been Extended
Since it was evident that the General Assembly would not able to come up the solution in due time, the Supreme Court extended the deadline until May 26, with only one vote against.
David Wecht, the only Justice who was not in favor of the deadline extension, stated that the Court was used by the State legislation to give the law-makers a legal excuse for not tackling such a delicate question.
It is still unclear what will the new law bring and exactly how fairer it will be. The money was a much need financial injection for crisis-stricken local communities and many are unsure how it will reflect on them since the last ten years were very generous when it comes to locally allocated funds from taxation.
During the decade the law has been in affect, none of the Pennsylvania’s casinos ever came close to the $10 million red line as described by law. The closest one that came to the ‘limit’ was Sands Bethlehem but was more than $5 m from the limit.
One of the casinos that was among those who voiced their concerns on this question, Mount Airy Casino Resort, was more than $7 million dollars far from the financial ceiling.