Reality Check: Casinos And The State CAT Tax

By Ben Swann email | bio

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - From the moment Governor John Kasich said his administration wanted to take a closer look at the Cincinnati casino deal, Rock Gaming started putting out press releases.

Here is how it was explained to us that the Governor's budget would put the Casinos at a disadvantage.

If someone spends $10 in a casino and wins $1,000 dollars, the casino would have to pay tax on the $1,000 dollars and not on the $10.

That is not true.

This information came to us from a viewer, Pat Weber:

Ohio's Commercial Activity Tax or CAT tax is a tax on the gross revenues of a business. It is not based on net income, operating income or any other definition.

If the gambler gambled $10, then the CAT tax would only be assessed on $10.

If the gambler gambled $10 and won $1,000 and took that 1,000 dollars home, again, the casino is taxed only on the $10.

But if the gambler doesn't take that $1,000 dollars home and puts back into another machine, at the end of the night, the casino is taxed on 1,010.

The Casino doesn't like it because they say its not new money coming in.

Mayor Mark Mallory says he is frustrated and so does Commissioner Todd Portune.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Portune said ""it is a crime that Ohio's self-proclaimed 'pro-business' Governor is so out of touch with the business needs of the state and the revenue needs of local governments that he would take action that threatens the opening of casinos in Cleveland and Cincinnati and will only worsen our already bleak governmental budgets.  If he can't help, he needs to get out of the way."

If the casinos get their way, they won't be paying tax the way all other Ohio businesses do.

Because the CAT tax  is based solely on gross receipts without any deduction for expenses and that is the basis upon which all Ohio businesses are required to pay tax.

Both the Mayor and Commissioner Portune as well as other lawmakers want the Governor to move aside because we need the jobs now and we need the revenue now.

But wasn't the haste to get the new stadiums built part of the reason that taxpayers got stuck with a bad deal that you now have to pay for?

The same haste of "We want it now and we'll look at whether the deal was a good one or not later," didn't work then and it probably won't work now.

And that is Reality Check.


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