In Pennsylvania, Monday reportedly saw Governor Tom Wolf (pictured) approve a wide-ranging piece of legislation that will see the eastern state license up to ten new satellite casinos while joining Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey in legalizing mobile and online gambling.
According to a report from the Associated Press news service, the expanded gambling measure is an effort by officials to plug a projected $2.2 billion upcoming budget deficit and was approved by both houses of the Republican-controlled state legislature last week.
The news service reported that the operators behind Pennsylvania’s existing twelve casinos are now set to bid for the right to run each of the coming satellite facilities with licenses for up to 750 slots due to cost $7.5 million. The firms may also pay an additional $2.5 million to feature a maximum of 30 gaming tables while the new venues will be required to be located at least 25 miles from any current casino.
The Associated Press reported that every one of the new online and mobile gambling licenses are to cost $10 million although operators will not be required to be based in Pennsylvania. But, these firms are to be subject to a 52% revenue tax rate on slots while table games are to be liable to a 14% duty.
The news service reported that Wolf, who became the 47th Governor of Pennsylvania in January of 2015, has not historically been a big backer of expanding gambling but nevertheless saw it as a better alternative to raising taxes in order to help balance the state’s floundering budget. The Democrat purportedly declared that ‘we do need some recurring revenue’ and that there had been ‘a lot of pressure from a lot of places’ to pass the measure.
“Again, the goal has been all along to do what’s prudent, not cannibalize existing gambling revenue coming to the state, and I think what we’re settling on will actually do that,” 68-year-old Wolf reportedly told the Associated Press.
Alongside the ten new satellite casinos and the legalization of mobile and online gambling, the legislation will reportedly moreover permit truck stops in the state to offer a maximum of five slot-style video gaming terminals.
As if this wasn’t enough, the Associated Press reported that the measure furthermore legalizes daily fantasy sports and is to allow the Pennsylvania Lottery to expand its portfolio to include instant and raffle games alongside keno. The state’s existing casinos can now additionally purportedly pay a $10 million fee in order to secure a license to offer on-site or online sportsbetting while eight of Pennsylvania’s largest airports including those in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh will be permitted to feature interactive gambling parlors.
The news service reported that Pennsylvania’s commercial casinos already rake in more gross gaming revenues than any other American state with the exception of Nevada although it sits atop the tax table with last year’s tally standing at $1.4 billion. Lawmakers previously purportedly estimated that passage of the expanded gambling measure would lead to up to $230 million a year in additional revenues from fees and taxes.