Senator Jay Costa has recently issued a memorandum announcing his intentions to introduce an online gambling bill based on HB 1887 in the state of Pennsylvania in the near future.
In December, attempts to legalise online gambling and re-establish local share tax on casino revenues failed as legislators neglected to vote on the subject.
The proposed legislation dictates that operators will have to pay higher tax rates than previous drafts; Casinos online licensing fees would increase from $8mn to $10mn, and vendors fees would also increase substantially from $2mn to $5 million. Although this many upset operators, the senator believes that the legislation should go ahead.
The new legislation would ban online gaming on the casinos property, in order to prevent tax avoidance by the casino. However, players would be able sign up for accounts at a casino or online.
The legislation would also impose a 25% rate on online gaming revenues, contributing almost half of the takings to Pennsylvania’s Property Tax Relief Fund. Mobile operators would also be able to offer table gaming at airports in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, paying a license fee of $2.5mn as well as a 25% rate. Daily fantasy sports would be legalised and operators would be obliged to pay 25% of revenues and $2.5mn in licensing fees to take advantage of this new method of online fantasy sports betting in the state. Lotteries would also be able to offer online services.
It is expected that casinos should still pay their host communities the money that they received prior to the Supreme Court ruling in September, which affirmed that the host fee was unconstitutional. The court decided that it should not be obligatory for the state’s casinos to pay $10mn and the 2% on slot machines revenues, as the fixed tax rate was deemed unfair for smaller businesses such as Mount Airy Casino Resort.