Former Pennsylvania Governor Says State Should Oppose New Skill Games Tax Rate

Former Pennsylvania Governor Says State Should Oppose New Skill Games Tax Rate

From 2003-2011, Edward Rendell served as the 45th Governor of Pennsylvania. In 2004, Rendell and his team were negotiating the state budget. A major part of the 2004-05 budget was the passage of the Gaming Act. This brought casino gaming, specifically slot machines into PA. Edward Rendell noted that multiple industry executives wanted to meet with him. They wanted to discuss the 52% tax rate that Rendell had proposed for slot machines. 

Many industry executives claimed that Rendell’s 52% tax rate was too high. The highest in the country at the time. However, Governor Rendell did not stand down and was persistent with his 52% tax rate. Despite the pushback, Rendell was right and Pennsylvania’s gaming industry is thriving because of it. The PA gaming industry has 17 casinos, over 15,000 paying jobs, and opportunities for career advancement. During the 2022-23 fiscal year, Pennsylvania’s gaming tax revenue brought in $2.36 billion.

Edward Rendell doesn’t want to see PA change their current skill games tax rate

Former PA Governor Edward Rendell says the gaming industry is bigger than he ever imagined it could be. Rendell ended his stint as governor in 2011 and technology has advanced incredibly since then. He noted that gaming taxes play a huge role for millions of Americans in Pennsylvania. In all counties, including ones that do not host a casino. Revenue from these taxes is used to pay for economic development, support local schools, and is shared throughout the state. Edward Rendell says Pennsylvania has been able to maintain this revenue over the last 20 years because of the General Assembly’s discipline. 

They’ve continued to respect the 52% tax rate. Pennsylvania’s constitution states that taxes should be imposed in a “uniform” manner. Hence the 52% tax rate for all slot machines at brick-and-mortar casinos, virtual slot machines online, or video gaming terminals (VGTs) in truck stops. Despite all this, former Governor Edward Rendell is worried that several members of the General Assembly might be looking to make changes to the tax rate. Rather than stick with the 52% tax rate that has proven to be more than profitable, legislators might be making changes. Rendell noted that tax rates for skill games could drop somewhere between 34 and 16%. Far below the 52% tax rate the state has seen for two decades. If tax rate changes do happen, it’s going to cost the state millions each year in corporate tax revenue.

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