[toc]Yet another plan to expand gambling operations in Pennsylvania is being floated by a member of the PA Senate. This latest one is proposing up to 25 new satellite casino locations be built across the state.
Forty-sixth district Republican Sen. Camera Bartolotta released a memorandum Monday promising to introduce legislation in the near future aimed at generating additional tax revenue from the Pennsylvania gaming industry.
In fact, Bartolotta claims the bill she will cosponsor will generate as much as $240 million in upfront fees and more than $360 million in new tax revenue annually.
Her memorandum also states her proposal will create over $650 million in capital investment and more than 4,000 construction jobs.
Satellite casino locations in PA
The measures Bartolotta is proposing surrounding satellite casino locations include:
- Authorizing up to 25 satellite casino locations in the state built at least 25 miles away from existing casinos.
- Proposed satellite casino locations would be allowed to host up 500 video gaming machines and provide local share revenue to host municipalities, counties, and local clubs.
- A licensing fee for satellite casinos of up to $5 million each.
- A tax rate of 55 percent on satellite casino gaming machine revenues with 48 percent going to the state’s general fund, five percent to the local share, and two percent to the Race Horse Industry Fund.
- A ban on table games at the proposed satellite locations, but permission to include off track betting or other legalized games of chance.
Once these satellite locations open up, Bartolotta claims they will create more than 3,000 new jobs. She also says they will create as much as $700 million in annual economic benefit.
Additional Pennsylvania gaming expansion measures
Bartolotta’s plan also includes the continuation of the $10 million per year local share payments. These are the same payments the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional last fall.
Plus, Bartolotta wants to:
- Authorize airport gaming at a 55 percent tax rate.
- Allow the Pennsylvania Lottery to run keno games at bars, taverns, and other licensed establishments.
- Allow licensed casino facilities to host skill and hybrid games.
- Speed up loan repayments from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board allowing the state to realize $62 million in revenue.
Through the memorandum, Bartolotta has asked fellow Senators to cosponsor the proposal. She also claims similar legislation will be introduced in the House of Representatives before long.
Senate considers comprehensive gambling expansion bill
The timing of Bartolotta’s memorandum is particularly interesting. It hit the same day Pennsylvania Senators were expected to begin considering a comprehensive gambling expansion bill.
H 271 originally included a plan to authorize tablet gaming at airports. It was passed by the Pennsylvania House last month. However, it was expected the Senate would amend the bill to include other gambling expansion initiatives.
Measures legalizing PA online poker and Pennsylvania online casinos were expected to be added to the bill before the Senate voted on it. Other measures, including authorizing video gaming terminals at bars, restaurants, and social clubs were also expected to be considered.
However, this memorandum may be the first mention of the satellite casino locations Bartolotta is proposing.