Pennsylvania is one of many states that is currently preparing to launch sports betting services. After the ability to legalize sports betting within their borders became a reality in May, lawmakers began to create bills and/or regulations to get busy offering services. In Pennsylvania, legislation has been passed and regulations created, but operators have been slow to apply for licensing. Many blame the high tax rate on the industry for the lack of interest, but one lawmaker disagrees.
In Pennsylvania, the tax rate is set at 36% for sports betting with a $10 million fee for licensing. When compared to other states, this rate is pretty high. In Nevada, sports betting is taxed at 6.75%. in New Jersey, the rate is 8% for racetracks and casinos with online sports betting operations taxed slightly higher at 12%.
So far, in the state, only two operators have applied for licensing, the Parx Casino and the Hollywood Casino. No other entity has moved forward with filling out an application to be approved for sports betting licensing.
Representative Robert Matzie has stated that because two operators have applied, there is no need to be concerned over the 36% tax rate. According to the Rep, since two filings have been made it is inevitable that the rest will also do so.
Matzie is partially responsible for sports betting coming to the state as he was a sponsor of original legislation that led to the regulation of the industry. And while gamers are happy that they will have access to the option, companies are not so happy as they have to pay a higher percentage in taxes just to offer the option.
Originally, the tax rate for sports betting was set by Matzie at 18% which is the same percentage on table games in the state. However, the rate was doubled since sports betting was agreed upon to be like slot games, which are taxed at an astonishing 54%.
It will be interesting to see if the state will make a move to change the tax rate for sports betting, especially if no other operators show interest in the future.