Pennsylvania towns losing money to casino law



A law on the payment of casino fees to municipalities, considered unconstitutional by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court last year, is yet to be modified.

US.- Last year, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declared a law controlling casino fees payment to their host towns unconstitutional and ruled that it had to be modified or it would be invalidated. However, the law is yet to be changed and casino towns are losing money to it, despite the Court’s ruling.

The issue is now on the table for state lawmakers as they try to negotiate a budget that’ll pass the House, Senate and Governor whilst filling a US$2 billion gap, WSKG News reported. They are set to change the bill that makes casinos pay their host jusrisdictions the greater number between either two percent of their slot machine revenue or US$10 million (an amount which slots revenue never reached).

The fee payment was hurting smaller casinos, Mt. Airy Casino in Monroe County argued in a law suit. The Supreme Court agreed and set the deadline at January of this year to change legislation. However, lawmakers missed both the original deadline and its extension date and so casinos stopped paying their municipalities as of May 26.

Even as some venues kept paying “as a goodwill gesture,” a few (such as Sands Casino in Northampton County) haven’t, causing a shortfall of millions of dollars for local budgets. City Business Administrator David Brong said: “We’ll start to see a decline in that cash balance starting now.” And added: “And it certainly needs to be fixed before 2018.” However, it’s still unclear when the law will be modified by the Legislature.