Explaining Pennsylvania Casino Revenue

HARRISBURG -- Year after year, you have called Talkback 16 about Pennsylvania's revenue that comes from casinos.

"The money that they're paying back into the state of Pennsylvania - where is it," asked a caller in 2007. "It was supposed to go to lowering property taxes - not!"

"Property taxes were supposed to go down," said one caller in 2012.

"We never got any of the gaming money that we were supposed to," said one caller on Tuesday.

So to clear up a couple of things, Newswatch 16 talked with Doug Harbach, the communications director of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

"Homeowners normally will not see anything on their bill unless the tax collector puts an extra message on there," said Harbach, who points out that people are getting property tax relief, or a homestead credit as it's usually called, they just don't know it.

"I want people to understand that they likely are getting the reduction but through no fault of their own, many times they don't know they are getting it because it's not marked as their reduction for the homestead credit as funded by the casino money," said Harbach.

And if you take the time to actually read what was written into the bill, you'll notice pretty quickly that gaming revenue goes toward not only property tax relief, but also things like wage tax reduction and economic development like community projects. About two-thirds of the money that goes back to Pennsylvanians comes in the form of property tax relief.

And that piece per property owner can range in a reduction anywhere from around $50-300/year, depending on which school district you live in.

You probably already signed up for it when the property tax reduction program started about a decade ago. Newer homeowners should keep an eye on their records.

"Make sure you are signed up," Harbach added. "Because this is free money. You don't have to gamble, you never have to visit a casino, you just have to be a homeowner in Pennsylvania."

You can check to make sure you are signed up and benefiting from casino revenue by checking your school property tax bill and looking for a line called something like "homestead credit."

You can also contact your county assessor's office to make sure you are signed up.

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10 comments

  • seen it all

    Organized crime (lawmakers and affiliates ) is where the money goes and why we even got gambling , as the attempts to privatize liquor stores and toll I 80 , just as the “legalizing” marijuana is in PA – even state lotteries that take from gambling addicts. . A game to extract money to private hands , wit permits sent to insiders , shame they destroy communities to get monies into their hands.

  • Archie Beal

    They took the the homestead relief act off the property owners / tax payers in Luzerne county and other counties across the commonwealth . They did away with it. So what do they get?

    • WarningFakeNews

      They sold us on one idea and morphed that into a way they could insure there would be graft and corruption for the politicians. Some of us predicted they’d do just that, then it happened. We’ve been here before, and we will likely see them do it again and again. When the Luzern and Lackawanna commissioners won big jackpots on opening day, the casino basically said, “in your face”.

  • trump train 1

    everyone wants to talk about the cost of a college degree but no one wants to talk about the cost of a high school diploma that you will pay for for your entire life!

  • Steve

    Remember, Wages, Salaries, Health care, Pensions, “Perks”, Administrative expenses, General expenses and such for the Casino gets deducted before the “two-thirds” goes towards school tax relief. Then it starts all over again when the taxing agency gets a hold of the money.

  • Tax me again please

    The property taxes are raising at such an alarming rate that the tax relief is almost a clear wash. Looks like the homestead reduction was put into place to allow property tax rates to rise more than inflation so it can be hidden through the relief. Nice trick.

  • bobc74

    Since most school districts, towns, counties and the state continue to raise taxes, it doesn’t matter whether it’s there or not. If my tax bill was $1000 and you are giving me a $100 homestead credit, then my tax bill increased by $100 the next year but my credit stayed the same, how do I benefit? I don’t.

  • Tapped Out Taxpayer

    What a joke. My yearly property taxes are $3600 per year. The casinos generate billions yet my reduction attributed to casino revenue amounts to only $124 per year.