|Posted:||November 4, 2013 03:56 PM|
|From:||Senator Joseph Scarnati and Sen. Kim Ward, Sen. Robert Tomlinson|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||LBFC Gaming Study|
|In the near future, we plan on introducing a resolution directing the Legislative Budget & Finance Committee (LBFC) to study the current state and future viability of gaming in our Commonwealth. In particular, the LBFC will be tasked with studying the state of casino gaming in Pennsylvania and other states in order to make recommendations to the General Assembly in regards to potential regulatory and legislative changes which could be implemented in order to sustain and maximize gaming revenue and the positive economic impact of gaming in our Commonwealth.
The advent of gaming in Pennsylvania has proven to be a huge success. In the time since the Race Horse Development and Gaming Act (Act71) was signed into law in 2004, twelve casinos have opened for operation throughout the state. These facilities offer a wide variety of both slot machines and table games, directly employ over 16,000 people, and have generated a total of over $6 billion dollars in gaming tax revenue. This funding has been used to provide wage and property tax relief to homeowners, sustain the state’s horse racing industry, enhance economic development and aid local governments, police and emergency services as well as easing the increasing strain on the Commonwealth’s general fund budget.
However, it is important that we build on these successes and continually work to both maintain and improve the gaming industry in our Commonwealth. Recent months have seen gaming revenues begin to stagnate and even decline at some casinos. As preparation is underway for new facilities to potentially open in the next few years we must be willing to consider changes and revisions to Act 71 which will make it easier for both existing and new category 1,2 and 3 casino licensees to thrive in a growing regional and national gaming environment. The introduction and expansion of gaming in Pennsylvania’s bordering states has caused the Mid-Atlantic region to become an extremely competitive market.
Our resolution will direct the LBFC to study the tax structures and regulatory requirements in Pennsylvania and other gaming states as well as the potential impact of online gaming on the industry. The LBFC will then issue a report of its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly. A comprehensive study of this type will ensure that Pennsylvanians continue to benefit from the economic development and property tax relief they have been promised.
Please join us in co-sponsoring this important resolution.
Introduced as SR273