Casinos in Pennsylvania win lawsuit against the state
The state’s Supreme Court rules that lawmakers were dead wrong in 2017
Two years ago, a bill was converted into law in Pennsylvania that allowed more gambling options and opened the doors to online casinos and sports gambling. It was a step forward for the state and its wallet, but part of the bill pricked some casinos like a rose’s thorn and they were determined to not let it continue. Led by Sands Bethlehem, the fight was taken all the way to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which has now sided with the casinos. Pennsylvania now owes casinos $21 million in refunds.
The debate centered on a clause in the gambling legislation that would see 0.5% of slot tax revenue destined for the state’s Casino Marketing and Capital Development (CMCD) account. The clause had some fine print attached to it, which allowed the funds to be given to the state’s worst-performing casinos so they could improve their properties and increase their marketing efforts.
Sands Bethlehem threw out a flag and called for an official review. The case went to the Supreme Court, which decided that the measure violated both state and federal laws. Supreme Court Justice Thomas Saylor stated, “Act 42 establishes a system specifically designed so that the taxpayers who pay the least into the CMCD Account are the most likely to receive a mandatory distribution from that account (and the less they pay, the more they receive), and vice versa.” As such, the courts ordered the state to immediately stop collecting the funds and to not release any more that has already been collected. Pennsylvania will also have to give back to the casinos $21 million that they already paid to the fund.