Gambling Expansion in Pennsylvania Remains Complicated

With only a short time left in the current legislative session, Pennsylvania continues to see complications when it comes to expanding gambling within the state. With so many alternatives in which to expand upon the gambling industry, it seems lawmakers cannot make a single decision as to what needs to happen. From online gambling to video gaming terminals, much is being considered to help with the growing budget deficit.

As far as online gambling is concerned, lawmakers are trying to find a way to bring in $100 million in new gaming revenue by legalizing online casino and poker gaming within the state. However at the same time, legislators are having to consider major issues within the gambling industry, including the local share tax.

In September of last year, the state Supreme Court decided to rule that the local share tax was unconstitutional so lawmakers have had the past few months to come up with a solution. The 2004 Pennsylvania Gaming Act has gaming venues paying 2% of their slot gaming revenues to their host community or $10 million, whichever amount is larger. This was proven to be unfair to smaller gaming venues.

Lawmakers have been considered online gaming as well as the local share tax for some time. The tax issue first had a deadline of January but lawmakers asked for an extension. They have now been given a May 25th soft deadline before communities will see their money cut off. The hard deadline comes in mid-July.

Also time is about to run out on the state earning licensing fees for online gaming in regards to the current budget. Several measures are being considered but it seems legislators cannot come together to pass any of the measures into law. A hearing for online gaming was recently cancelled in the state as the Senate continued to try and reach an agreement as to which proposal to push forward.

For now, it seems any expansion efforts are stalled. However, it would not be surprising to see in the coming days some form of legislation moving forward as deadlines approach.

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