Rivers Casino drops lawsuit over gambling tax paid to Pittsburgh |

Rivers Casino drops lawsuit over gambling tax paid to Pittsburgh

Jason Cato
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Rivers Casino on Pittsburgh's North Shore.

Rivers Casino on Friday dropped a lawsuit it filed against the state last month claiming a gambling tax it pays to Pittsburgh is unconstitutional.

A spokesman did not offer an explanation for why the North Shore casino dropped its suit against the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. Rivers was attempting to block the department from collecting the tax established by lawmakers when they legalized gambling in 2004.

Rivers attorneys claimed the municipal portion of the local share tax in the state’s Gaming Act unlawfully applies different tax rates to Pennsylvania’s 12 operating casinos and doesn’t tax all casinos equally in terms of revenue from slot machines that goes to municipalities.

Similar lawsuits are pending by Mount Airy and Harrah’s Philadelphia casinos.

For fiscal year 2015-16, Rivers earned $272 million in slots revenues, records show.

Rivers annually pays a local-share assessment to the city of 2 percent of slots revenues or $10 million, whichever is greater. It has paid $65 million to Pittsburgh since opening in 2009.

In addition to getting the tax abolished, Rivers’ parent company, Holding Acquisition Co., wanted a refund on some of the money it has paid.

Pittsburgh planned to join the state in defending the claim and considered a counter-lawsuit against Rivers.

“We are pleased that the Rivers Casino changed course and withdrew this erroneous lawsuit,” said Kevin Acklin, Mayor Bill Peduto’s chief of staff. “We remain vigilant to defend the commitments made by the casino to the residents of our city.”

Jason Cato is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7936 or [email protected].

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.