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Sands Corporation Refuses to Pay $10 Million Host Fee
- December 28, 2016 By Oliver Young -
Pennsylvania slowly but steadily becomes one of the most gambling states in the US. Earlier this year, it was reported that Pennsylvania collected more gambling tax than Nevada, even though the total gambling revenue in Nevada is still much higher.
Sands Corporation is one of the largest players in the Pennsylvanian market, but the owner of Sands, gambling mogul Sheldon Adelson threatened to halt all investments if Pennsylvania legalises online gambling. Now it seems that Sands Corporation are the ones facing problems, after it was announced that the company owes money and refuses to pay a $10 million fee requested by the state.
Pennsylvanian Law Requires Operators to Pay a Host Fee
Sheldon Adelson refused to pay the $10 million fee after the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania didn’t alter the state law in order to cancel the host fee and the slots tax, as was expected by Sands Corp. Now Pennsylvania announced that it plans on cancelling the state support for the casino which will include the withdrawal of the law enforcement agents which protect the operator, until the fee is paid.
The Supreme Court previously decided that the host fee is not constitutional, because most casinos paid different fees, depending on how big their operations are. The bill wasn’t passed until this year’s legislative session concluded. Five of the state’s casinos managed to secure deal with their hosts and are now safe as under the deals the local law enforcement organisations will be servicing them in the future.
Las Vegas Sands Bethlehem, owned by Sands Corporation didn’t reach such a deal. A spokesperson for Sands said that the company is going to act in accordance with the law only when they understand local authorities’ plans and intentions regarding casino operators and their obligations towards their hosts.
The District Attorney of Northampton warned the company that the support for the casino will be stopped if the fee is not paid, adding that he would not be able to justify the spending of public funds in order to help a billion dollar company which refuses to pays its dues to society.
Most Pennsylvanian Land-based Operators in Favour of Online Gambling Legalisation
The failure to legalise online gambling in Pennsylvania have caused severe problems for the state’s budget, and legislators are looking for ways to fill in this large gap. The plan for online gambling legalisation is not abandoned and the Republican Senator Ward, has scheduled a meeting with casino owners to discuss the possible options.
It seems that Adelson is the only opponent of the idea for legalisation, whereas the owners of most other casinos in the state would accept the idea of online legalisation, provided that they too are permitted to provide online gambling services to Pennsylvanian citizens.
Ward is one of the senators who is in favour of the idea of online gambling association. In a press statement he pointed out that “the days of doing nothing are over”, suggesting that it is about time for Pennsylvania to join the group of states who have legalised online gambling.