Pennsylvania House Votes in Favor of Casino Table Games Legislation
Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania approved a legislation on January 7th, 2010 that will permit casino table games such as craps in gaming facilities in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania's legislature approved the proposal on January 6th, 2010. Gov. Ed Rendell warned earlier this week that if the proposal did not arrive at his desk by the end of the week, nearly one thousand state furloughs would be necessary.
Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Chairman Gregory C. Fajt said that it will take six to nine months to install casino table games at Pennsylvania casinos. State Senator Daylin Leach (Democrat-Delaware/Montgomery) said that the games are expected to bring in as much as $250 million in new tax revenue for Pennsylvania in this fiscal year.
House Democratic Gaming Oversight Committee Chairman Dante Santoni (Democrat-Berks) said that this is a logical, bipartisan piece of legislation that makes their gaming establishments more competitive with gaming facilities from neighboring states, improves the public's confidence in gaming, raises additional money that the state needs in these tough economic conditions and helps out thousands of individuals to work in a new industry.
Santoni said that permitting casino table games is the right thing to do. Under the new legislation, racing track-based casinos and stand-alone slots facilities would be allowed to have up to 250 casino tables per establishments and would be required to pay the state a license fee of $16.5 million.
Smaller resort casinos would be required to pay a $7.5 million license fee and would be permitted up to 50 casino table games per establishments and would be able to improve the number of slot machines from five hundred to six hundred machines. Casino facilities would also be permitted to host bigger tournaments on a limited basis.
Under the proposal, there would be a sixteen percent tax on casino table games, of which 14% would go directly to Pennsylvania, 1% to the establishment's host county and 1% to the establishment's host municipality.
After two years of operation, the tax rate would drop to fourteen percent, with 12% going to Pennsylvania and two percent to localities. The state's revenue from the casino table games would go into the general fund of Pennsylvania to fill the budget deficit until the state's "Rainy Day Fund" reached $750 million, after which the gaming revenue would be added to the slots revenue in the Property Tax Relief Fund. The House passed the casino table games measure by a 103-89 vote.
David M. Bedingfield