Pennsylvania’s casino host fees to be voted

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The Senate is set to decide the fees that casinos pay to host cities before the established May 26 deadline.

US.- Local lawmakers from Pennsylvania have said that they’re confident that the share of casino revenue that Erie County receives is not at risk. As announced by GoErie, the deadline to address the issue is May 26.

The state has been trying to fix the current regulation for quite some time now, with the most important action happening in September, when the Supreme Court established that the provision created in 2004 was unconstitutional as it violated the state Constitution clause that taxes had to be imposed in an uniform way. Whilst the initial deadline was set for January 26, the Court extended the deadline to May 26 to come up with a solution to fix gambling revenues. Erie County has received millions from casino revenue in the last few years, and if it stops receiving money for being a host city, it would be devastating for the local economy.

Despite the little action regarding the issue, state Senator Mario Scavello said that Erie County has nothing to worry about, since its share will be protected. “I’m working on a way so that Erie County won’t be affected,” he said and added that he’s waiting for House Bill to be voted out of committee when legislators return on May 22, and a later vote by the full Senate on May 24.

State Rep Pat Harkins, the Democratic legislator who’s aiming to fix the financial situation in Erie, said that passing the bill before the deadline is difficult. “It’s not contentious, but when you get a solution in one area, someone from another area wants the same or more. Then you add in the Senate and it gets sticky. I really believe the solution now won’t come until mid-to-late June during the budget negotiations.”

Presque Isle Downs, the casino that has shared its revenue with the county, said that Erie won’t suffer delays. “We are committed to paying our fair share of the local share assessment tax. Everyone in Erie County benefits from our success. A significant portion of our tax dollars stay here to help fund assets and programs that are important and vital to our community. We are very proud of our commitment to community outreach and support,” said Jeff Favre, the casino’s general manager.