No doubt, Rivers Casinos is in pressure of paying millions every year to the city. Yes, according to the media reports, the officials of Pittsburgh have declared that the casino will have to pay an amount of $10 million each year to the state. This amount has to be paid voluntarily by the casino after the announcement of the latest court ruling that has actually threatened the fee paid by the casino to the host municipalities.
In the Words of the Finance Director
Paul Leger is the Finance Director of Pittsburgh and has mentioned in a comment that he is very confident about Rivers Casinos making the payment. He affirmed this after his meeting with the Pittsburgh’s financial overseers appointed by the state, Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority. In addition to this, it is known that the ICA has approved the proposed amount of $539 million by Pittsburgh for operating budget contingent upon the city. It will be further verified 120 days to ensure that the state is going to receive an amount of $10 million every year from Rivers Casino.
Leger has even said that Rivers Casino, which is famous for Zuma Slot, actually expected to pay the amount right from the time they opened the casino for public. He has made it clear that the casino has not resisted at all and has obeyed the orders. The discussions throughout the meeting were cordial without any heated arguments taking place. However, it is also true that the significant Board members including Nick Varischetti and Michael Danovitz were nowhere seen in the meeting.
Reaction of Rivers Casino
While talking about the spokesperson of Rivers Casino, Jack Horner came up to mention that the casino is in no mood to refuse the city’s request. By all means, the casino is going to consider the request and pay the demanded amount voluntarily. In a mail, he has confirmed that further discussions are still taking place to reach to a final decision. The casino is in process of considering other options as well.
Furthermore, it is significant to mention that the ‘local host fee’ has recently been struck down by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. The court declared that the local share assessment does not abide by the constitution due to the fact that it actually treats 12 casinos of the state unequally. In fact, the Justices have granted a period of four months to the lawmakers to make changes to this law.
The Case of Pittsburgh
When it comes to the Pittsburgh case, the local share is defaulted to that of $10 million every year and all the board members of ICA have consented to approve the same budget for the state in the year 2017. Furthermore, the authority’s interim executive director, Reynolds “Renny” Clark has stated that the members never wanted to disapprove the budget, as they were quite confident of the digits. He even added that the ICA is not at all sitting on any gaming revenue and is not asking for anything illegal.
Talking about the past ICA budgets, the previous Board actually rejected the budgets of the city in the years 2014 and 2015. According to the reports, the board then also withheld an amount of around $20 million in gambling tax revenue. This simply means that the conditions have improved now. The relations and interactions between the Mayor Bill Peduto’s administration and the ICA have grown in a better way throughout the years.
Hence, it can be seen that the gap in the budget is being attempted to be filled by Leger and other concerned members to improve the casino conditions in the state.