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Court strikes down state tax on casinos to aid other casinos

April 26, 2019

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania’s highest court is striking down a provision of 2017′s sprawling state law expanding casino-style gambling, saying a tax on higher-revenue casinos to provide cash grants to help market and improve lower-performing casinos is unconstitutional.

The state Supreme Court on Friday agreed with a challenge by Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, invalidating the tax and ordering the money repaid.

Sands Casino argued the provision violated various parts of the state constitution and the U.S. constitution’s equal protection and due process clauses.

Based on 2017-18 revenues, Mount Airy Casino Resort and Presque Isle Downs and Casino were to get $4 million each, with smaller amounts going to three other casinos. Seven casinos wouldn’t receive anything.

Chief Justice Tom Saylor writes that the benefit received and the burden imposed make it unconstitutional.

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