- A new bill, PA SB 1117 would use all sports betting revenue in Pennsylvania to help with property taxes while the commonwealth is shut down due to COVID-19.
- The gambling on sporting events market in Pennsylvania has seen much lower revenue numbers than usual due to the lack of sporting events because of the pandemic.
PITTSBURGH – Senator Doug Mastriano of Pennsylvania has drawn up a bill to reallocate sports betting revenue to help offset property taxes in the commonwealth.
The current Coronavirus pandemic has hit the Keystone State hard in terms of residents coming up with the money to pay for the taxes on their homes among other things. Senate Bill 1117 would direct all sports betting revenue profits to help with property tax relief for the people of Pennsylvania rather than go toward the General Fund as it does now.
Pennsylvania’s Current Economic Situation
In theory, Mastriano’s bill would be very helpful but at the moment. However, the legal sports betting market is down because of the lack of sports there are to wager on. Major sports, as well as other competitions, have been canceled because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The lack of sports equates to a lack of sports bets which makes for less revenue for Pennsylvania sportsbooks.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf currently has the commonwealth shutdown to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. Presently, Wolf is trying to come up with a plan to reopen the state’s economy gradually. The unemployment rate is now at 6% because of all of the closures.
Yet this is why Senator Mastriano believes any money, even the smaller amount being seen by sports betting revenue would be helpful for residents. While Wolf would love to reopen Pennsylvania all at once, he knows that’s impossible as the risk of spreading COVID-19 needs to be considered.
Opening the commonwealth by sectors would be a safer and more reasonable approach.
“Unfortunately, we cannot flip a switch and reopen the commonwealth. There’s not going to be one big day,” said Wolf. “We need to be smart and make data-driven decisions.”
Current Pennsylvania Sports Betting Revenue
Casinos nationwide have been shut down for some time. The casinos in Pennsylvania along with their sportsbooks were a big source of revenue for the economy even with casino shutdowns. In March, the gaming and sports betting market in Pennsylvania brought in $153 million in revenue which is more than 50% lower than March 2019 when they had a total of $316 million in revenue.
Although that is substantially lower than their average, that is still millions of dollars that Senator Mastriano believes could be very helpful to homeowners in the commonwealth, which is why he would like his new bill to pass.
“Pennsylvania home owners already face high property taxes, and the COVID-19 pandemic will only worsen that reality,” said Mastriano. “With a mandated shutdown of businesses that are not ‘life-sustaining,’ many Pennsylvania families find themselves out of work with no income, and have voiced concern about paying their property taxes. It is imperative that we help our citizens now during their greatest time of need, and temporarily re-allocate sports betting revenue toward property tax relief.”
Senate Bill 1117 would be at the forefront of being heard by lawmakers as anything having to do with the Coronavirus is taking priority. Opening up Pennsylvania little by little is first on Governor Wolf’s list of priorities, however, PA SB 1117 may be put at the top of that list as well.
Christina has been writing for as long as she can remember and does dedicated research on the newly regulated sports betting market. She comes from a family of sports lovers that engage in friendly bets from time to time. During the winter months, you can find Christina baking cookies and beating the entire staff at Mario Kart…the N64 version of course.