Pennsylvania is one of the very few states that promulgated a plan for sports betting before the Supreme Court opened Pandora’s floodgates to nationwide wagering. And Pennsylvania ultimately could end up being one of the very few states that ultimately doesn’t have a robust sports betting program.
As explained by A.J. Perez of USA Today, Pennsylvania’s plan calls for a $10 million initial fee and a whopping 34-percent tax on revenue. In contrast, Nevada requires a tax of only 6.75 percent on the gambling revenue.
“We haven’t made a final determination on whether to pursue sports betting in Pennsylvania,” Penn National Gaming V.P. of public affairs and governmental relations Jeff Morris told Perez. “In addition to the high application and annual licensing fees, the challenge will be trying to make the 34-percent tax rate work — this would be the highest tax rate in the world on sports betting. For comparison, West Virginia recently passed a sports betting law at a 10-percent tax rate, which is the range most states are considering.”
This may keep many/any sports books from setting up shop in Pennsylvania, and in turn it may keep the state’s two NFL teams, the Steelers and the Eagles, from taking full advantage of the in-stadium betting experience. (Not to mention the five other major-league sports teams in Pennsylvania.)
Time will tell whether Pennsylvania revisits its effort. As it stands, however, Pennsylvania apparently hopes to grab so much of the gambling money that there won’t be any at all.