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Sports Betting Falling Short

Gamblers place bets in the temporary sports betting area at the SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia. Most of the states that moved quickly to legalize sports after a Supreme Court decision last year, including Pennsylvania, are still waiting for the expected payoff.

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania's highest court struck down a provision of 2017's state law expanding casino-style gambling, saying a tax on higher-revenue casinos to provide cash grants to help market and improve lower-performing casinos is unconstitutional.

The state Supreme Court on Friday agreed with a challenge by Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, invalidating the tax and ordering the money repaid.

Sands Casino argued the provision violated the state constitution and the U.S. constitution's equal protection and due process clauses.

Based on 2017-18 revenues, Mount Airy Casino Resort and Presque Isle Downs and Casino were to get $4 million each, with smaller amounts going to three other casinos. Seven casinos wouldn't receive anything.

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Chief Justice Tom Saylor wrote that the benefit received and the burden imposed make it unconstitutional.

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