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PA Senator introduces bill to help reduce property taxes using new gambling revenue

When casino gambling was legalized in Pennsylvania in 2004, a promise was made that homeowners would see a decrease in their property tax bills. But, one lawmaker says, the savings haven't been as high as promised.

Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill says, "One of the promises that was made was that gaming was to relieve or potentially eliminate our local property taxes, and nothing could be further from the truth."

Which is why Phillips-Hill has introduced Senate Bill 269, directing all new revenue generated from the expansion of gaming into the Property Tax Relief Fund.

The Senator says, "There is no bigger issue that I hear about from constituents than how big and how burdensome their property tax bills are."

The state originally estimated $1 billion in annual revenue from slot machines, but the Senator says that figure has never been realized.

Kevin O'Toole, with the Gaming Control Board, says, "Slot machine revenue at the 12 operating casinos is more than holding its own against competition from surrounding jurisdictions."

O'Toole says slot machine revenue in 2018 was its highest in five years. As for gaming expansion, he points to I-Games. Specifically, interactive slot machines, which will be taxed at the same rate as regular slot machines.

"So, there is a component of expanded gambling that will directly benefit property tax relief."

In 2004, lawmakers predicted slot machine revenue would result in homeowners seeing an average of about $300 off of their property tax bill. Senator Phillips-Hill says in her area, the average is closer to $120.


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