Following the forced closure of Bethlehem’s giant steel factory, the city in Pennsylvania looked at different options to retain income for public works. The introduction of casinos, such as the Sands, offered huge tax revenues that could partially replace those made from the factories.
In total there are 12 casinos operating legally in the state of Pennsylvania. However, a poorly written law has allowed for these payments to legally cease. Three of the four casinos in the Bethlehem have reportedly agreed to pay the $2.5 quarterly tax. But the Sands in Bethlehem have allegedly refused to do so, which is completely within their rights.
A Supreme Court decision in September ruled in favour of the Mount Airy Casino. The judgement deemed the casino disbursement payments unconstitutional; the contract failed to meet the states Uniformity clause.
The Court was fully aware of the impact the loss of funds would have for local and state services. As a result the Pennsylvania Assembly was given a total of 6 months to delay the introduction of the ruling and appeal. The time is now up and a failure to act has led to a situation where the state is at risk of losing huge amounts of casino revenue.
There are already reports of lawmakers calling for a retroactive law to be passed. That would mean when the first non-enforceable payment is up at the end of the month, regardless whether casinos pay or not they will be charged.
For the meantime Pennsylvanian casinos find themselves in a strange legal situation whereby they are completely entitled to not pay their quarterly $10m disbursements.
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