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Dauphin County, Penn National extending deal over local casino share

An agreement struck last year between Dauphin County and Penn National Gaming to keep the local share of money flowing from Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course is being extended through the end of the year as officials wait on state lawmakers to pass new gambling legislation.

The deal announced in November was to maintain the so-called “local share assessment” payments from the casino to support county projects and services through the first half of 2017.

The hope was that state lawmakers would have passed a plan by now to expand gambling in Pennsylvania, specifically to legalize internet and fantasy sports gambling. That legislation was expected last year to help drive new revenue into the state’s coffers as part of the current budget.

The local share has been linked to that expansion effort after the state Supreme Court last year ruled that the state gambling law imposes different tax rates on casinos depending on their size, which is a violation of uniformity standards in the state Constitution. So the local share has been in jeopardy of going away unless lawmakers can pass a fix.

There are bills in the House and Senate to do that.

The Dauphin County commissioners will hold a meeting today at 10 a.m., where they plan to announce the details of the new agreement with Penn National.

Hollywood Casino generates about $13 million per year for Dauphin County. The county doles out about half of its annual slot-machine revenue in the form of grants for local projects.

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