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Pickett Chairs Committee Examination of Gaming Proceeds Legislation

Rep. Tina Pickett led a public hearing of the House Gaming Oversight Committee on Thursday in Montgomery County. The committee learned more about legislation that would change the way in which local gaming proceeds are distributed to county government. Pictured at right is Rep. Rosita Youngblood (D-Philadelphia), Democrat chairman of the committee.

JEFFERSONVILLE – Members of the House Gaming Oversight Committee heard testimony about whether or not to redistribute a county’s share of casino revenue to parks and nonprofit organizations during a public hearing in Jeffersonville, Montgomery County, on Thursday, said Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna), chairman of the committee.

“Part of the oversight mission of this committee is to determine if our laws are adequate in reflecting the goals of the original gaming law, and as time goes by, if updates are needed in the way the revenue is distributed to the local entities that are entitled to gaming proceeds,” Pickett said. “We must look at all aspects of how the local share money is being distributed and how the local share assessment is benefitting both the county and the host municipality. That is the purpose for this hearing and the examination of this legislation.”

When the expansion of gaming was first enacted into law in 2004, the 2 percent of the gross terminal revenue for the local share assessment for Montgomery County was to be distributed to the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) for grants to the county.

When table game legislation was passed in 2010, the local share changed and 2 percent of the gross terminal revenue from slot machines was directed to be used exclusively for grants for projects in the county that qualify for the Business in Our Sites program, the Tax Increment Financing Guarantee program and the Water Supply and Waste Water Infrastructure program. Likewise, state law mandated that 1 percent of table game revenue be distributed the same as slots to the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA).

Since the two new laws governing casinos in Pennsylvania were enacted in the past decade, the Valley Forge Casino and Resort, which has a Category III license, has opened within Montgomery County, thereby generating additional revenue for host municipalities.

Specifically, House Bill 2594, which was the focus of the committee hearing, would redistribute the county share assessment of casino revenue to specifics parks and nonprofit organizations across the county. This legislation, sponsored by state Rep. Marcy Toepel (R-Montgomery), would not alter in any way the formula for revenue to be deposited into the Property Tax Relief Fund and only changes the structure for local proceeds.

“We will take what we have learned today and work with staff from both sides of the aisle to see if there are any improvements we need to make from hearing this testimony to improve the bill in any way,” Pickett concluded.

State Representative Tina Pickett
110th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jennifer Keaton
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