Posts Tagged ‘poker’

PA to Have Blackjack by July 4?

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Last month, many blackjack fans were pleased to hear that Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell had signed a bill into law that would allow table games in the state. Since then, the move to allow blackjack, poker and other table games in state casinos has been put on the fast track. The Chairman of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, Greg Fajt, says that table games could be in operation in the casinos by the Fourth of July.

To gambling enthusiasts, that date makes perfect sense. On America’s Independence Day, when freedom is celebrated more than any other time, gamblers will be given the freedom to challenge a dealer at blackjack, something that inexplicably had not been allowed before.

Yesterday, the gaming board issued temporary regulations for casinos that are adding table games. By issuing the temporary regulations, the process of getting the games up and running is sped up. Those regulations include the required training for dealers and which rules are accepted for poker, among other things. The temporary regulations are effective immediately and last for two years. By the end of that two-year period, the gaming board will have had time to sit down with the casinos, unions, and everyone else involved, and come up with more permanent regulations.

Prior to this table game legislation being signed into law, only slot machines have been allowed in Pennsylvania casinos. By adding table games, the slot casinos should be able to attract more customers and make a lot more money, which in turn will benefit the state of Pennsylvania due to the tax revenue and other costs. Each casino that wants to add table games must pay a $16.5 million license fee up front. In addition, in the first two years, table games will be taxed at 16%, with it dropping slightly to 14% after that time. Larger casinos will be allowed to add up to 250 table games each, while small resort casinos will be allowed 50 table games.

The legalization of table games is thought to be a great help for Pennsylvania’s economy, but not everyone is happy. Take the state of New Jersey, for example. That state has its own gambling market and isn’t pleased at the thought of more competition. Many in the state fear that Atlantic City casinos will lose a lot of business to the Pennsylvania casinos, particularly the New York City market.

PA Governor Must Really Want Table Games

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

I’m a big fan of table games, my favorite being blackjack. They’re a ton of fun and blackjack in particular has just the right mix of chance and strategy. It seems that Ed Rendell, the governor of Pennsylvania feels the same way. He is an advocate for the legalization of table games in Pennsylvania casinos and sees them as a way for generating extra revenue for a state that, like the rest of America, is hurting for cash.

When politicians want something bad enough, they usually resort to threats. It’s that way from city politicians all the way through the President of the United States. Such is the case here. Governor Rendell warns that if a bill legalizing the table games is not passed by the end of the week, the state will need to cut funds by laying off nearly 1,000 state employees, with the state prison system and the Department of Public Welfare seeing most of the cuts.

This is a common strategy. It is common for cities to claim that if they don’t get an increased budget they will lay off police and firefighters (rather than, say, not putting pretty plants along the highways). Prisons and welfare are kind of a state’s version of that threat. Rendell may in fact me serious about the threat, but if so, he would take a big hit politically. It will be interesting to see how things turn out.