Pennsylvania’s Treasurer Rob McCord says the state’s ten operating casinos should start repaying $63.9 million in loans made from a taxpayer relief fund to sustain the industry’s oversight body, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. The loans from the Property Tax Relief Reserve Fund were made between 2007-2010 to fund the costs of operating the Board.
“The problem stems from the fact the casinos took longer than predicted to come online after the slots law was passed in 2004,” said Michael Smith, a spokesman for McCord. “Under the law, they are supposed to fund the cost of running the Board. So money was taken from the Fund to keep the Board afloat.”
The same law that approved the loans set a June 30 deadline for the Board to choose a plan to repay the money. But the law also says that 11 casinos must be operating before the money is paid back.
“It could be another year or two before the 11th casino comes online,” Smith said. “The Treasurer believes a plan should be in place to start repaying the money beginning July 1.”
Under the plan, each operating gaming facility will be assessed a payment each year of a 10-year period. The assessment will equal a share of the total outstanding loan amount based on the proportion of the facility’s gross slot machine terminal revenue (GTR) the previous fiscal year compared to the statewide GTR for the same period from all operating facilities. The assessments would begin July 1, 2011 if Treasurer McCord’s recommendations are accepted.
The Board is reportedly considering at least five other plans.