High court strikes down casino payments to host communities

Written by The Associated Press | Sep 29, 2016 2:10 AM

(Harrisburg) -- Pennsylvania's highest court is striking down the tax that casinos pay their host communities, potentially devastating local budgets around the state.

The state Supreme Court has ruled the effect of a "local share assessment" is unconstitutional because it treats the state's 12 casinos unequally.

A state Senate Republican spokeswoman says the move could have "far-reaching" effects.

The court says it is staying its decision for four months to give the state Legislature time to come up with a solution.

Mount Airy Casino in northeastern Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains had argued it violates the state constitution by imposing a heavier tax burden on lower performing casinos.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board says some $140 million was paid in the last fiscal year to counties and municipalities, including the $10 million host fee paid by some casinos.

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