Pennsylvania Court Lifts Ban on Casino Contributions

Pennsylvania State GovernmentThis week in Pennsylvania, a federal court reversed the state’s ban on political contributions from people involved in the gaming industry. This means that political donations can now be made by individuals with ties to the Pennsylvania gambling industry.

Why Was The Ban Reversed?

District Court Judge, Sylvia H. Rambo decided that the ban had good intentions but it overstepped boundaries. The judge pointed out that the ban was commendable as it worked to prohibit corruption, but it was not fitting within the perimeters of the constitution.

Pennsylvania Gaming Control BoardThe ban was not an issue until late last year when a lawsuit was filed involving two plaintiffs and the defendants: Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board and the Pennsylvania Attorney Josh Shapiro. In the case, a specific claim was made against the rules in the state involving political contributions.

The lawsuit claimed the state was exhibiting a double standard as they allowed for unlimited contributions outside the gaming industry. The focus was that just because a donor worked within the gaming industry, did not mean that their political contribution was a form of corruption.

A Closer Look At The Plaintiffs

The plaintiffs in the case, Maggie Magerko and Pasquale “Pat” Deon, Sr., are popular names associated with the lottery industry of the state.

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Maggie Magerko is the owner of 84 Lumber and President of the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, home to Lady Luck Casino. Pat Deon is a stakeholder in the Sands Bethlehem Casino, the turnpike commissioner of the state, Chairman of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, as well as the founder of Pat Deon Beverages.

How Will This Affect PA’s Political Dealings?

In regards to the casino industry, it seems that such individuals like the two plaintiffs in this case, could provide financial support to candidates who are in favor of positive changes for the gaming industry, including those who will support lowering the gambling taxes in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania has very high tax rates, including a 54% rate for slot gaming. Casino executives and stakeholders of the industry would certainly be open to supporting such individuals that would work to lower this high rate.

It will be interesting to see how the landscape changes now that political donations are open game to any individual associated with the US gaming industry.

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