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Plains Township Could Lose Millions If Part Of Casino Law Isn’t Rewritten

PLAINS TOWNSHIP — Communities where Pennsylvania’s casinos are located could lose tens of millions of dollars, thanks to a state Supreme Court ruling.  Th...
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PLAINS TOWNSHIP -- Communities where Pennsylvania’s casinos are located could lose tens of millions of dollars, thanks to a state Supreme Court ruling.  The court decided Wednesday that part of the casino gaming law is unconstitutional.

“For the citizens of Plains Township, we have a $9 million budget, which over $3 million is generated from Mohegan Sun,” said Rob Sax, a township commissioner.

He says all of that money goes towards emergency services for things like equipment and salaries. Getting by without it could be a challenge.

“It certainly would be a big blow to the township and all municipalities that receive host community money,” said the township solicitor, Steve Menn.

A state Supreme Court justice wrote in an 18-page opinion that, “we are mindful that our decision may significantly affect many counties and municipalities that have ordered their affairs in reliance upon (the casino tax revenue ).” But the judge ruled that since taxes casinos pay are not uniform, the tax that goes to communities where casinos are located is unconstitutional.

Lawmakers like State Representative Aaron Kaufer are still digesting what the ruling means.

“Without this, the casinos maintain more money, there's less money coming back to our communities, less money coming back to our taxpayers,” he said.

Lawmakers have 120 days to rewrite part of that law that was ruled unconstitutional or those communities could lose that money. Representative Kaufer expects that the law will be rewritten in time.