Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Some Movement Seen in Table Game Debate

Lawmakers in Harrisburg have agreed to legalize table games in Pennsylvania’s casinos, but they still haven’t figured out the details of a tax structure. Governor Rendell sat down with legislative leaders in his office and issued a warning: make sure the final legislation’s tax rate on casinos’ profits from table games isn’t too low--but also make sure it’s not too high. He says he’ll veto a bill that sets a rate below 16 percent, but he’s also worried a high levy would deter casinos from applying for license fees. House Speaker Keith McCall says negotiations will continue through the week. He says, “I think the one thing that we agree on is the $15 million fee. The House still has legislation sitting that has the tax rate at 34%. They sent us a bill that has the rate at 12 percent.” Other factors are whether the General Assembly will address table games and gaming reform in two separate bills or one piece of legislation; and whether or not to raise the 500 slot machine cap that’s currently imposed on Category 3 resort casinos. The House doesn’t reconvene until November 9th, but McCall says he’ll bring members back for a vote if a compromise is reached earlier than that.

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