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Gaming Board Head Confident the Court Will Approve Slots Licensees

On March 14, 2007, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board head commented that he is confident that the State's Supreme Court will eventually recognize the 5 slot machines licenses that the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board awarded in December 2006.

However, Chairman Tad Decker said that in the event that the court will ask them to review their decision regarding the licenses, it could delay the opening of a 5 non-racing track casinos for about a year, like the one in Pittsburgh, which may not open until December 2009.

The Supreme Court will schedule hearings in May regarding the lawsuits that have been filed by applicants who did not win any slot licenses last December. The decision on the matter could take several months. When the Pennsylvania Gaming Board awarded the 5 licenses in December 2006, they said that they are expecting the casinos to open within a span of 2 years.

If they have to be reviewed again, it may delay the casino openings and affect the expected profits that the state may receive. Until the problem is straightened out, the licenses cannot be issued to Mr. Don Barden of the Majestic Star Casino, who won the license in Pittsburgh. Aside from this problem, Mr. Decker announced that they will be opening the 2nd round of slots issuance.

There are no applicants at the moment because the Seven Springs Casino in Somerset County and the Nemacolin Woodlands in the Fayette County have withdrawn from the deal. Decker said that they want to issue the 14 slots licenses so that the state can use the profits coming from the slots casinos.

By June 30th, the end of the fiscal year, gambling in the state will have given around $500 million, according to Mr. Decker. Of that income, about $300 million have come from $50 million slots license fees that the following 6 racing tracks have paid: Mohegan Sun at the Pocono Dawns in Wilkes-Barre, Philadelphia Park, Harrah's Casino and the Racing Track in Chester, which is located in the south of Philadelphia, the Presque Isle Downs in Erie, The Meadows located in Washington, Country and Penn National Race Course in Harrisburg.

The first 4 casinos have opened for business in the Meadows in May and the Penn National by 2008. The rest of the cash from the 55% Pennsylvania tax on the gross terminal profits, which is the amount of cash that is left on the casinos coffers after the winners were paid out.

Of that overall total, about 34% goes to the payment of taxes in the lower property and about 5% goes to economic development, like a new home for the Penguins Hockey Team.


Wednesday, 11 April 2007
Kori Woffendin