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Unintended Consequences

AGA urges policymakers to 'Get to Know Gaming'

Backwards proposals to tax the promotional credits, or free play, that serve as a vital marketing tool for casinos across the country are uniting our industry and offering an example of why the AGA’s Get to Know

Gaming campaign is an important effort for the industry.

Educating elected officials and other stakeholders about today’s gaming industry is as important as ever after Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf proposed levying an 8 percent tax on free play. AGA promptly replied with a letter to the governor, saying that “taxing promotional credits would likely lead to a decrease in tax revenue from casinos—the exact opposite of the intended result.”

Further, AGA explained that “taxing Pennsylvania casinos’ promotional credit programs will be an economic deterrent to casinos offering such incentives, and consequently, result in a decrease in patron play and lower tax revenues generated for state and local governments.”

Despite the harm it would cause casinos and the state, local media report that the governor is standing by the proposal.

The Keystone State isn’t the first state to consider this tax proposal—just last year, lawmakers in Ohio attempted to do the same.

These proposals speak to a larger issue that gaming faces. Policymakers too often rely on antiquated notions and stereotypes of what casino gaming is all about. This is why AGA is traversing the country to tout the value of gaming and give voice to the broad range of individuals who benefit from it. Our industry—and our allies—will stand together to promote smart, growth-oriented policies.

In the wake of Pennsylvania’s tax proposal and three weeks before the state’s presidential primaries, AGA joined the team at Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh to host our latest Gaming Votes event, which highlighted the many benefits gaming provides as a strong community partner.

For Carol Philp, a small business owner who creates designs for blankets and throw pillows, her partnership with Rivers has helped her business thrive.

“I started in my basement and have been in business for 20 years,” she said. “Working with Rivers is where magic comes from for small businesses. Rivers helped us grow and create new partnerships and American-made products.”

Also benefiting is the Bidwell Training Center. Of the partnership, Valerie Njie said, “Our students know they will get a great income and lifelong learning at Rivers.”

“Jobs are the foundation of what we are,” commented Rivers Casino General Manager Craig Clark. “Diversity and inclusion are part of what Rivers is all about.”

These are just two examples of the many hundreds of ways gaming touches a community and those who live there. Next month, we’ll visit

Detroit, where taxes from gaming have been a key revenue source for the city.

Our industry has a tremendous, compelling story to tell in 40 states across the country, but we need your voice to help broadcast the many benefits of gaming and urge our lawmakers to get to know the true story of gaming.

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