The state Senate recently approved a bill that could generate nearly $150 million in new revenue by giving gamblers more options and casinos a chance to make more money.
Sounds like a jackpot for everyone, right? Well, not if casinos don’t ante up.
Several casinos said the gambling expansion bill is a nonstarter, largely because its 54 percent tax rate on most of the proposed internet gambling is too high for them to make money. So they’re not willing to buy the $5 million licenses that would make up the bulk of the new revenue. If the casinos would bite, legislators estimate the bill could generate as much as $146.6 million for the 2017-18 budget. That would go a long way toward filling a projected $3 billion deficit in the next fiscal year, which begins in July.
But if no casinos buy in, it would leave a shortfall of up to $120 million in the Senate’s projections.