Casinos have hit the jackpot (3.14 billion in revenue) in Pennsylvania over the course of the last year alone. There are four (4) Casinos within twenty miles of Philadelphia: Sugarhouse; Harrah’s; Parx and Valley Forge and another seven (7) Casinos throughout Pennsylvania.
Revenue from table games play at Pennsylvania Casinos was $57.1 million in June 2012, according to a report released today by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. The June figure boosted table games revenue during the 2011/2012 Fiscal Year to $663.9 million, an increase of 30.8% over the previous Fiscal Year. Combined with the slot machine revenue generated in 2011/2012, total combined revenue from Casino gaming was $3,140,629,989 or 10% higher than in the 2010/2011 Fiscal Year.
With the proliferation of Casinos in Pennsylvania, it is inevitable that gambling losses will result in some consumers filing bankruptcy to discharge those losses.
The general rule in bankruptcy law in Pennsylvania is that you can discharge (wipe out) gambling debts in bankruptcy. Not so long ago, bankruptcy courts regularly found gambling debt non-dischargeable.
More recently, however, and perhaps as a repercussion of the upsurge in legalized gambling in Pennsylvania, the courts are allowing discharge of this debt.
The two issues critical to erasing gambling losses are “full disclosure of the gambling debt” and “timing of filing the bankruptcy case.”
All gambling losses must be fully disclosed on the Statement of Financial Affairs which is filed with the Court in your case. Failure to disclose the gambling debt could lead to the gambling debt surviving the bankruptcy case if a gambling creditor brings this oversight to the Court’s attention.
And equally important, the timing of the bankruptcy filing is critical because credit card companies have a right to object to a discharge of “cash advances” and “luxury goods or services” within 90 days of the filing of the bankruptcy.
Therefore, waiting 90 days prior to filing a bankruptcy petition is critical to avoid a likely objection from a gambling creditor.