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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: March 2, 2017 02:48 PM
From: Representative William C. Kortz, II
To: All House members
Subject: Slot Machines at Qualified Airports (former HB 1408)
In the near future, I will be re-introducing legislation – former House Bill 1408 – that will allow international airports located in Pennsylvania the ability to work with existing licensed casinos to operate slot machines within its terminals. Specifically, the six applicable airports would consist of those located in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Lehigh Valley, Wilkes-Barre and Erie.

My proposal makes a few minor changes to the language of former HB 1408 including simplifying the breakdown of the taxes gained by airport gaming. Under my legislation, a 34% tax is established on the airport’s gross net gaming revenue to be deposited into the General Fund. However, the bill also requires 20% of the airport’s gaming revenue to be designated as a ‘local share assessment,’ with that money being transferred back to the airport to use as they deem necessary.
There is no doubt that Pennsylvania is leading the way in state revenues collected through licensed casino gaming. But with plans for gambling expansion in other states, including New York, New Jersey, Ohio and Maryland, competition from bordering states will likely force Pennsylvania to find new ways to generate gaming revenue.

Currently, there are only two airports in the nation that permit the operation of slot machines, both of which are located in Nevada – McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas and Reno/Tahoe International Airport in Reno. However, several states across the country, including New York, Maryland, Illinois, Florida and Hawaii, have started to explore plans to legalize the operation of slot machines in airports.

In a report issued on May 7, 2014 by the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee, consultants hired to undertake a study of the state's current condition and future viability of casino gaming highlighted the potential of Pennsylvania authorizing slot machines at certain airports as a way to generate new gaming revenue. The study concluded that Pennsylvania could generate significant revenue from this authorization, and there would likely be no cannibalization of existing Pennsylvania casinos with the addition of these new machines.

My legislation would place the machines only in secure areas of the terminal, after TSA checkpoints, and would be utilized by those ticketed passengers only. All of the current regulations relating to licensed gaming would apply to this new form of gaming.

Previous co-sponsors: Caltagirone, Cohen, D. Costa, DeLuca, Everett, Kinsey, Kortz, Kotik, Matzie, McNeill, Millard, Mustio, C. Parker, Pashinski, Payne, Readshaw, Thomas and Youngblood

I hope you will join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB1797