Ten heads of Pennsylvania casinos are making their interests known to state lawmakers on how to bring in more of other people’s money (since gambling “gains” from someone else’s losses). In a letter to the legislative Community Economic and Recreational Development committees, among the casino interests are:
- 24-hour alcohol service.
- Allow casinos to give any visitor free drinks.
- Grant tax-credits to casinos.
- Allow tax-free “promotional play” to patrons using internal casino currency.
This is exactly the kind of thing we warned about in our efforts to stop casino gambling from coming to Pennsylvania.
A decade after casinos came to Pennsylvania, their promises have not been fulfilled. Ironically, the casinos are calling for tax relief, but in 2006 they were priding themselves on how the expansion of gaming would lead to $1 billion each year for local property tax relief. Yet for 2014-2015, the total property tax relief for Pennsylvanians is only $616 million.
And this is on the heels of new reporting from WTAE Pittsburgh on the rise of gambling addiction. “In 2007, 182 gamblers signed up for Pennsylvania’s self-exclusion list. Since then its skyrocketed to 7,778 people.”
The state is also considering the legalization of internet gaming and online sports betting – which state casinos oppose. This is gambling of the worst kind because of its easy access. “We predicted the government would be back for more (revenue) because it’s addictive,” said PFI President Michael Geer.
Are all of these ideas really what we want for Pennsylvania?