Ohio Gambling Committee Says $650 Million Gambling Freebies Went Untaxed
The casino industry in America is constantly under the scanner of both state and federal authorities as casinos have always been the target of criminals and unscrupulous individuals who are always looking for a legal loophole to leverage to their advantage. As a result the state gaming laws are extensive and robust to ensure that casinos run an operation that is clean and one that protects the interests of the community.
A Joint Committee on Gaming and Wagering in Ohio recently decided to review the casino industry in the state to see if all protocols were being followed and if there were any changes to be recommended to make the industry event better. The report highlighted a number of points but the biggest concern raised by the committee was based on the amount of freebies that casinos have given away that have gone under the tax radar.
Ohio spends a significant portion of its gaming tax revenue generated from the racinos and casinos on its education system. The committee stated that casinos in Ohio have given away over $650 million in freebies since 2012 to customers to encourage them to play at the casinos but these freebies were not taxed and hence had a direct impact on the finances of the local government and the development of educational institutes in the state. The committee stated that these policies must be reviewed quickly to ensure that state does not miss out on further gambling tax revenue and continues to protect the best interests of schools in the state.
While casinos have claimed that giving out freebies helps in increasing the overall spending of customer and thereby taxable income at the casinos, the committee stated that Ohio casinos were unable to provide any data related to the direct impact that freebies had on the overall revenue generated by the casino. As a result, the committee suggested that the tax exemptions being provided by the state can be reconsidered.
These recommendations have not gone down well with the Ohio casino industry. In a statement, Bob Tenenbaum, a representative of Penn National Gaming said
Any change in the current promotional tax credit would, as we told the committee, negatively impact casino revenues, hinder the growth of the industry in Ohio, and make it more difficult for Ohio gaming facilities to compete with those in neighboring states.
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