Pennsylvania gets ready for 2017

Representatives of the state’s casinos will meet on January 3 to discuss the gambling law.

US.- Senator Kim Ward, R-Westmoreland, announced that she set up a meeting with representatives of the state’s 12 casinos on the same day that lawmakers are supposed to discuss the new legislative session. The closed-door meeting will take place in the Capitol on January 3.

According to the American Gaming Association, Pennsylvania’s casino industry is the number one in tax revenue, and a recent measure that says that the casino host fee is unconstitutional is jeopardising the relationship between the state casinos and the communities. The justice has time until January 26 to fix the ruling that states that casinos should not be forced to pay the US$10 million host fee and the 2 percent tax on slot machines revenues. Some casinos have already established that they’ll continue paying taxes even if the Legislature fails the host communities necessities. “The days of doing nothing are over at this point,” said Ward in a statement, and hinted that this is one of the priorities of the meeting.

Legislators will be back in session during the second week of January, and they have at least three months before the next scheduled payment in April 15. Pocono Record reported that lawmakers are counting on getting more money from casino gambling to help finance the state’s deficit finances. Furthermore, casinos from Pennsylvania want lawmakers to give them the authorisation to launch and operate online gambling sites. Whilst the House approved the measure, it got stalled in the Senate. Senator Robert Tomlinson said that before moving forward with any other gambling activity, they need to solve the problem that requires casinos to pay host fees.

On the other hand, Rep. Michael Sturla, D-Lancaster, said that he is currently drafting a legislation that would allow 35.000 slot machines to be licensed in bars and fraternal clubs. According to the politician, the activity would contribute with millions of dollars to Pennsylvania.