In a 47-1 preliminary vote on Tuesday night, the Pennsylvania Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation to temporarily reinstate a mandate that requires casinos to pay host communities millions of dollars, after being struck down by the state’s highest court, according to the Associated Press.
Through the bill, a different formula would be mandated to create the identical structure that yielded $141.3 million in slot machine revenue, according to the latest annual report from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. It would, however, only be in effect until May 1. Senate officials say the seven-month interim will afford lawmakers time to come up with a permanent solution.
Last month, Pennsylvania’s high court ruled that the municipal portion – 2 percent or $10 million, whichever is greater – of tax on slot machines located outside of Philadelphia violates the state constitution due to the fact that the rates it imposes on casinos differ depending on their size.
Money from the “local share assessment” helps fund local government budgets, projects, and institutions, not only in Philadelphia but in 11 counties as well.
In other Pennsylvania news, while the Supreme Court gave the state until January to resolve the issue of a wider gambling expansion bill, lawmakers would have liked it to happen prior to the end of the 2016 legislative session, but considering the session ends on October 26 (today), that almost certainly isn’t going to happen. In addition to allowing online gambling in the state, the proposed legislation would expand the number of slot machines and regulate daily fantasy sports.