Cites Economic Benefits, Including New Jobs and Revenue
Senator Tommy Tomlinson (R-Bucks) told members of the state House of Representatives’ Gaming Oversight Committee that passage of his legislation to allow table games at Pennsylvania’s slots casinos will provide “reliable, recurring revenue” for the state at a time when it is facing difficult budget challenges.
Tomlinson testified in support of the measure to expand gaming options, saying it will provide much-needed additional revenue and economic benefits in coming years – bringing in more money to help fund needed state programs and services.
“Table games added to the venues we currently have are a good fit and a great way to generate revenues of between $150 million and $200 million annually without raising taxes,” Tomlinson said. “Slots have provided a significant amount of money for property tax relief – this measure would put more money in our state coffers and help to create good-paying jobs.”
The legislation would create a Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board review process for existing slot licensees who want to apply for a table game operation certificate. Among other information, the applicant would be required to demonstrate the number of jobs that will be created and the economic benefit to the Commonwealth, its political subdivisions and its residents.
Each eligible slot machine licensee would pay a certificate fee of $10 million and an annual table game tax of 12 percent, which would be deposited into the General Fund.
Tomlinson said that the idea of table games also has strong public support – In March, a Franklin and Marshall College poll found statewide support, 63 percent to 32 percent, for allowing the state’s casinos to offer blackjack, roulette, craps and other table games. That number climbed even higher when those surveyed heard about the number of jobs the proposal would create.
“Table games will provide an additional 10,000 family-sustaining jobs and salaries, and generate economic activity in a host of related industries including tourism,” he said. “They will also help to make us competitive with neighboring states like New Jersey, Delaware and West Virginia, which are all benefiting from revenue from table games.”
Tomlinson added that the timing is right for the table game expansion, given the fact that the Senate recently passed a gaming reform package. The measure would more tightly regulate the gaming industry and provide greater accountability and transparency.
“Our slots casinos have helped our economy and provided a good revenue source for property tax relief, and we’ve learned as we have gone through the process and made the current law better,” Tomlinson said. “Let’s build on this success by allowing table games in these casinos and provide revenue to the Commonwealth for important programs.”