In a rather unexpected twist, there seems to be a possibility of an uneven playing field in as far as sports betting in the Keystone State is concerned. It is hard to tell if this was an intended move or whether it is a mere consequence of the way the state’s lawmakers dealt with the gambling expansion laws. Either way, now that it has caught the attention of a number of stakeholders, the main point of concern is how the issue will be fixed in a manner that all stakeholders will be willing to agree with.
Stadium Casino LLC is at the center of this new revelation. This is because there has been an overarching debate on whether the casino operator should have to part with an extra $10 million in order to offer sports betting services at its mini-casino in Westmoreland Mall. Already, the casino has acquired a $10 million sports betting license for its Philadelphia Live! Casino operation. That said, the mini-casino licensing fee has been described as “unwarranted, unfair, and economically unrealistic”.
What Was Overlooked?
As it turns out, the state’s gambling legislation was rather broad and consisted of a number of bills and concepts all of which were consolidated into one. According to a representative of the mini-casino’s host district, the individual concepts and bills were not discussed explicitly hence the controversy surrounding the mini-casino sports betting fee.
“Each bill stood on its own and was dropped into an omnibus bill … Sports wagering didn’t exist at the federal level, so it was just dropped in, and there wasn’t a whole lot of thought as to how it would affect everything else. It was put in with the idea of authorizing sports wagering at as many places as possible,” the representative said.
Another lawmaker also pointed out that the interpretation of the law is quite contrary to the original intention of the state’s legislatures. Sen. Kim Ward, the lawmaker, also pointed out that the $10 million fee is definitely not practical considering the size and the purpose of the Category 4 mini-casinos as stipulated by the gaming expansion laws.
Sen. Ward argued that it is economically infeasible to have mini-casinos – which are much smaller than regular casinos – pay a whopping $10 million. The goal is to ensure that the sports betting facilities are both accessible and affordable but this is certainly not worth the same amount as the larger casinos.
Now, the matter seems to be headed back for a discussion and there is a lot of optimism that the fee could be totally bypassed. Ideally, the final decision will favor all of the stakeholders.