Reintroduction Of SLOT Act Aims To Benefit PA Casinos, Bettors

Written By Corey Sharp on May 10, 2023
A PA legislator and the AGA are pushing for an update to the SLOT Act from 1977 to help PA casinos and bettors.

A Pennsylvania legislator and the American Gaming Association (AGA) are reintroducing the Shifting Limits on Thresholds (SLOT) Act. The new bill would update the reporting threshold for slot machine winnings among Pennsylvania casinos.

Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV) and Congressman Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) are bringing this bipartisan bill to the forefront.

Raising the reporting threshold from $1,200 to $5,000 would help protect the regulated gaming industry and enhance players’ lives.

SLOT Act to increase reporting threshold at PA casinos

If a casino player wins $1,200 on a slot machine jackpot, those winnings must be reported and the slot machine must also be temporarily taken out of service.

Now with Titus and Reschenthaler’s new bill, the reporting threshold would increase to $5,000.

Not only is the bill bipartisan, which is a positive start in itself, the bill is backed by the AGA. Bill Miller, the AGA President and CEO, made the following statement:

“This is a commonsense update to tax policy that creates a better patron experience, reduces burden on the IRS, and supports gaming’s economic impact in communities. We are grateful for Rep. Titus and Rep. Reschenthaler’s leadership on this important industry priority to address the antiquated slot tax threshold.”

The $1,200 threshold limit has been in place since 1977, which as you can imagine, is severely outdated. Raising the threshold to $5,000 not only helps the regulated gaming industry, but also helps patrons as inflation has risen.

Raising slot machine threshold assists the regulated gaming industry

Increasing the threshold to $5,000 should help the regulated gaming industry as a whole. There’s less of a chance for slot machines to be out of service should someone hit a jackpot, which steers patrons away from illegal gambling.

In Pennsylvania, skill games are legal but on the unregulated side. There has been plenty of discussion on either banning them altogether or regulating them.

According to the AGA, there are an estimated 580,651 unregulated machines in the country as of November 2022. There are 870,000 regulated machines across casinos, which means 40% of all gaming machines in the US are unlicensed.

Rep. Titus made mention of the unregulated industry in a statement:

“Shutting down slot machines for low-dollar amounts pushes people toward the illegal market, and flooding the IRS with automated, outdated forms helps no one. This legislation would reduce the paperwork burden on businesses and players while ensuring our tax code reflects economic reality.”

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) is on a quest to end skill machines in the Keystone State. The PGCB is heading to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to fight this battle. They have the support of Miller, who is also actively attempting to ban skill games.

“All stakeholders – policymakers, law enforcement, regulators, legal businesses – must work together to root out the illegal and unregulated gambling market,” Miller said in November. “This is a fight we’re in for the long haul to protect consumers, support communities and defend the law-abiding members of our industry.”

Increasing SLOT Act helps PA casino players

The same SLOT Act has been in place since 1977. A lot has changed since then. What it costs to get gas and groceries is not nearly the same anymore.

Rep. Reschenthaler’s comments are more for the players in the industry. He wants them to live better lives, and increasing the threshold should do that:

“The 1977 slot jackpot reporting threshold hurts both Pennsylvania’s gaming industry and its patrons. Because the threshold has not kept up with inflation, it has resulted in a drastic increase in reportable jackpots, which trigger tax burdens for winners and compliance burdens for casinos. Increasing the threshold will eliminate this onerous red tape, ensuring the gaming industry can continue to support good-paying jobs and foster economic growth in southwestern Pennsylvania and across the country.”

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Corey Sharp

Corey Sharp is the Lead Writer at PlayPennsylvania bringing you comprehensive coverage of sports betting and gambling in Pennsylvania. Corey is a 4-for-4 Philly sports fan and previously worked as a writer and editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer and NBC Sports Philadelphia.

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