What Rivers is doing
Rivers Casino filed a complaint in state Supreme Court earlier this month that asked the court to stop it from having to pay a “local share tax” to the city.
As it is now, some PA casinos pay two or four percent of casino slot machine revenues to municipalities. If that figure does not reach $10 million, casinos must pay out of its own pocket to reach that threshold.
This results in millions of dollars going to local government to deal with the cost of having a casino in its jurisdiction.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Rivers argues that this is illegal:
The Rivers operator maintains that the levy “imposes unequal rates of taxation” on casinos and violates the uniformity clause in the Pennsylvania Constitution and equal protection rights under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
“The different rates of taxation resulting from this provision are arbitrary, unreasonable, not related to a legitimate government purpose, and not based on a legitimate distinction between taxpayers to warrant their imposition,” the complaint says.
Both Mount Airy and Harrah’s Philadelphia have launched similar lawsuits.
Pittsburgh isn’t buying it
Pittsburgh, of course is not very interested in letting $10 million of revenue go, and is fighting Rivers’ contention.
A statement from Mayor Bill Peduto, after the lawsuit was filed:
“Rivers Casino knew about this funding commitment prior to applying for their license, and knew this funding was due to the city for hosting them. Our intent is to fight this lawsuit vigorously.”
The other two casinos’ cases have been in the Supreme Court for more than a year. So Rivers might not have to wait as long as they are, as its case will likely be tied to those rulings.