CERD Committee Meeting Cancelled; Satellite Gambling Now an Option

PA capital building

A meeting of the Pennsylvania State Senate’s Community, Economic and Recreational Development (CERD) Committee originally scheduled for Tuesday morning has been cancelled. As per Chris Grove of Online Poker Report, the reason for the postponement is a lack of consensus of which of the various online gaming legislation proposals under consideration should move forward:

New Proposal on the Way

On Monday, Senator Camera Bartolotta (R) added to the Keystone State’s conversation about the topic in notable fashion by publishing a memorandum indicating that she would soon advance legislation that “responsibly generates additional revenue from the state’s gaming industry.” As further explained in in the memo, the proposed bill would aim to fix the state’s Local Share issue by generating sizable revenue from a number of new satellite gaming locations. Based on the proposed license and fee structure, the new measure would produce an estimated $240 million in up-front fees and in excess of $360 million of new tax revenue per year.

The new locations would also serve to reduce Pennsylvania’s unemployment rolls by way of creating approximately 4,000 construction jobs during the initial phase, and 3,000 jobs once the sites are up and running. Bartolotta put forth an estimate of $650 million in capital investment being required in the start-up phase, and $700 million in annual economic benefit to the state going forward.

As per Bartolotta’s memorandum, her proposed legislation would contain the following provisions:

  • Correct the Local Share issue by maintaining the status quo; requiring a $10 million per annum payment for casinos outside of Philadelphia.
  • Authorize up to 25 satellite casino locations, each of which can have up to 500 machines, and will provide local share revenue to the host municipality, host county, and local clubs.
  • Satellite locations will be limited to locations at least 25 miles away from existing casinos.
  • License fees for satellite casinos will be up to $5 million dollars.
  • Gross Terminal Revenue from these machines will be taxed at a 55% rate. Breakdown of revenue allocation is: 48% to the general fund, 5% to the local share, and 2% to the Race Horse Industry Fund.
  • Satellite locations will not be permitted to have table games. However, nothing will prevent off track betting that meets the racing act criteria, or other legalized games of chance at a satellite location.
  • Authorize airport gaming at a 55% tax rate.
  • Authorize the Pennsylvania Lottery to conduct Keno at bars, taverns, and other licensed establishments.
  • Authorize Skill and Hybrid Games in licensed casino facilities.
  • Accelerate the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) Loan Repayment to allow the Commonwealth to immediately realize $62 million in revenue.

As of the time of this writing, the committee meeting has not yet been rescheduled.


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