Your newspaper has never shied from its severe dislike of casino gaming. At the same time, when making your most recent editorial judgment espousing the non-success of Pennsylvania's entry into the commercial casino industry, you should inform your readers of a couple salient points.
First, that slight decrease in slot machine revenue had a lot to do with the fact that there were only 4 full weekends in April of this year compared to 5 full weekends in April 2011. That is a significant difference when you replace two weekend dates, when revenue is highest, with two weekdays. Just the previous month of March, slot machine revenue hit an all-time high. Therefore, your assumption that the slight decrease in revenue during April is some new long-term trend is rather short sighted.
Second, you insinuate that gaming revenue is not making a difference in school tax bills. No one ever stated that casino gaming revenue would eliminate school property taxes.
There was a prediction by Governor Reydell that nearly $1 billion per year would be raised through casino gaming to cut school property taxes, a figure that we are nearing even with just 10 of the 14 allowable casinos operating. Meanwhile, it is estimated that alternative taxes would have to total over $12 billion per year to fully eliminate school property taxes.
Toward that promise of tax reduction, not elimination, nearly 29,000 homeowners in Lycoming County will see their fifth consecutive year of school property tax reduction in 2012, a reduction ranging from $130 to $311.
Additionally, over $15 million generated from casino gaming has been returned to Lycoming County during the past two years under the H2O PA Water and Sewer program along with 47 grants this past year totaling more than $430,000 to local volunteer fire companies in your county through a grant program funded by gaming.
You may not agree with the decision to implement legalized gaming. But, you cannot deny that citizens in all parts of the state are receiving financial benefits.
Greg fant, Commissioner
PA Gaming Control Board
Submitted by E-Mail