Failing to Learn from Past Gambles

The Patriot New ran in an article on property tax “relief” the day after Thanksgiving, giving homeowners a reason not to be thankful.

The governor’s dream to make Pennsylvania a gambling state has come true, but it has failed to live up to its much-hyped solution to end the ever-burdensome school property tax

Slot machines were introduced into Pennsylvania with the promise that revenue collected would considerably lower homeowners’ school property tax. Unfortunately, this promise never materialized as the projected revenue from slot machines fell short (around $400 million short). Meanwhile, school property taxes rose (and continue to rise) far above the “relief” from slots revenue.

Gambling in the Commonwealth is now being extended to include table games, but the revenue doesn’t go towards easing homeowners’ school property taxes; instead, it is intended to balance the state’s budget deficit. Just as slot machines have undermined the sales of state lottery tickets; table games will likely undermine slots revenue.

This article reiterates a point which state lawmakers continually ignore – revenue from gambling is an unreliable source of revenue. Slot machines failed to materialize the expected revenue and table games cannot be guaranteed to fare better. Pennsylvania’s state budget should not be balanced with projected revenue from such sources.