Vermont Legislator Re-introduces Casino Bill

Republican Rep. Ronald Hubert will pass along a bill asking for the approval of a casino license in Vermont. Hubert has failed six straight years, but has re-structured this bill to provide more gaming revenue to assist the elderly population in Vermont.

For each of the past six years, Republican representative Ronald Hubert has introduced legislation to the state, which would allow for a casino in Vermont. Every year, he’s been handed the same result. This time around, however, a more sound plan is in store for the distribution of taxes generated from the casino.

“It’s something that most states have done, and the numbers show that we could bring in annually somewhere between $8 million and $15 million to state coffers,” Hubert said. His drafted bill has 17 co-sponsors, and asks for the Vermont Lottery Commission to issue one license for the operation of a sole casino in Vermont.

The license would be good for six years, and require a $6 million license fee, to be up front, or split over six years. A $100,000 non-refundable application fee would also be involved. The legislation grants additional power to the commission, who would have authority to create rules regarding the casino, and investigate all applicants involved. In addition, they would also be able to supervise all casino operations.

A 10 percent tax on the gross receipts of the casino would be put into a general fund. The bill this year calls for the fund to be spent on the elderly in Vermont. The money would then be divided by people 65 and older who receive an income-based break on property taxes. Those qualified people would then receive a payment from the state.

Scott Coriell, Governor Peter Shumlin’s spokesman, stated that Shumlin is 100 percent opposed to the notion of a casino in the state. “As long as he’s governor, he’ll do everything in his power to stop casino gaming in Vermont,” Coriell said.

House Speaker Shap Smith shares a similar sentiment. “I think that the experience of casinos shows that there’s an over-saturation and that moving in that direction is a bad idea,” he said. “I don’t think that it’s going anywhere.”