A Pennsylvania legislative committee has held the first of several meetings to consider what the state must do if its casinos are to remain competitive in the face of increasing competition.
The first session involving the House Oversight Committee was held this week in Dauphin County when casino operators warned lawmakers about enacting laws that would hurt their ability to compete with the growing number of casinos in surrounding states.
The potential problems include. Governor Tom Wolf’s proposed tax on promotional credits, which Penn National Senior Vice President John Finamore calls a gift to neighboring states.
“The reality is that the only folks who would be happy with this would be the neighboring jurisdictions,” he said. “They would be applauding the fact that Pennsylvania would consider taxing promotional credits.”
Finamore and other casino operators had a sympathetic ear in Gaming Oversight Chairman John Payne, a Republican from Dauphin County.
He says the commonwealth’s casinos do need to stay competitive.
“It’s no secret that when Ohio opened, it had a big impact on our casinos in Pittsburgh and Erie, Erie in particular,” he said. “If, two casinos open in northern New Jersey, I would think it would have a severe impact on our casinos in the Poconos and the eastern part of the state.”
Governor Tom Wolf included the proposal to tax promotional credits in his budget proposal for 2016-17.
The hearing was held at Dauphin County’s Hollywood Casino, with additional ones by the House Gaming Oversight Committee scheduled later this month.
Phil Hevener has been writing about the Nevada gaming business for more than 30 years. Email: .