It was in the news that the House Gaming Oversight Committee of Pennsylvania was recently together to discuss about the latest Supreme Court ruling of the state. The latest ruling can result into the shortfall of around $50 million if it is left unaddressed.
About the Ruling
The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania recently held the ruling on September 28, that all the local tax share payments were unconstitutional. Yes, it declared that he taxes under the Gaming Act of 2004 were illegal, as they are unfair and further favors some specific casinos over others. In addition to this, the lawmakers were given only 120 days to find the most appropriate solution. It can be seen that in just six scheduled session days, both the chambers have come into active action.
The Need of the Hour
The need of the hour is to announce a tax on the casinos that can suffice the court. The very tax should be agreeable to the casinos also, as it will directly affect the profit or losses of the casinos. In the latest hearing of the court, it was seen that the much concern was not given to reach to a tax compromise. In addition to this, the other major concern of the court is about distribution of these funds to local counties and towns. The hearing witnessed many lawmakers who actually questioned about this distribution.
The chairman of the House Gaming Oversight Committee, John Payne mentioned in a comment that finding a solution to the said problem is not difficult. He added that it is the distribution that can prove to be very challenging. On the other hand, the senators and representatives that do not receive any share from the local tax share are appealing for a wider distribution. They want that a wider distribution should be done from the tax revenue that is collected.
However, the lawmakers that are already getting a share from this revenue are making an appeal that their share should not be cut-off. In fact, they are arguing that the existing share should be increased. It simply hints at the fact that there are great concerns over distribution of this tax revenue and it has become inevitable to maintain a balance.
The Expected Solution to the Problem
The raised problem can be fixed in number of different ways. To start with, the legislature can plan to develop a quick fix to the issue of tax. This fix must satisfy the court and must aim at keeping the existing tax money in its place for now. Later, things can be done to create a permanent plan to distribute these taxes equally. This solution is the simplest of all and can be implemented in the minimum possible time.
The second option is to fix the tax share issue and re-plan the way in which the funds are distributed in towns and counties. In fat, the legislator can think of passing some omnibus gaming reform bill. It should generate revised revenue for all the municipalities and the entire casino industry.
Nonetheless, it should be noted that the online gambling may suffer until 2017 if the legislature has planned to keep the funds distribution temporarily in place or decides to deal with the local tax share independently.
The Bottom Line
Therefore, the further hearings are yet to be witnessed. The media reports have revealed that further hearings may discuss about daily fantasy sports and online gambling. The advocated of online gambling are expected to make the court deal with both the gaming issues at the soonest. Thus, it is hopeful that the issue of local tax share and gambling gets resolved soon.