Pa. bars can apply to offer small games of chance

The below article from the Associated Press goes into a little bit more of the gaming additions that were passed last year (a copy of the Bill can be found here ).   It would seem that the money the state thought they were going to be collecting by allowing private bars and volunteer clubs to collect from offering these games hasn’t been filling the bank accounts as much as expected.  So, it appears that any bar will be allowed to offer “games of chance” ranging from Punchboards, daily drawings, weekly drawings, raffles and pull-tabs, as long as they pass the requirements to obtain a license from the state.

PRIMOS — Pennsylvania bars can now start applying for state licenses to offer pull-tab games, daily drawings and other forms of gambling approved by the Legislature last year, and at least one prominent owner predicts that small games of chance will eventually be found in most of the state’s drinking establishments.  The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board started accepting applications about a week ago.  “The paperwork is going to be a nightmare — at least until people get used to it — but I think in six to eight months 75 to 80 percent of (liquor) licensees are going to go for it,” Tom Berry, owner of Tommy’s Tavern in the Philadelphia suburb of Collingdale and a former president of the Pennsylvania Tavern Association, told the Delaware County Daily Times.  “Hopefully it will lead to an expansion of gaming in taverns,” he said.  The bill allowing thousands of bars to offer small games of chance — the state’s largest expansion of gambling since table games were permitted inside Pennsylvania casinos — only narrowly cleared the House before sailing through the Senate and getting Gov. Tom Corbett’s signature in November.  Some lawmakers who voted against the law worry it will draw business away from veterans clubs that also serve liquor and are allowed to raise money through the games. Until this year, the games could only be offered by veterans posts, fire halls and other fraternal organizations.  State officials believe that a 60 percent tax to be levied on the games could generate more than $150 million annually.  Bar owners had been pushing the expansion for years, and more than 1,700 people attended state-sponsored seminars to learn about tavern gambling and licensure, according to the liquor board. Some tavern owners say the application process should be simplified.  “I’m more ‘glass is half full’ in my outlook on this, and I’m hopeful it will provide much needed revenue for an ailing industry as well as more money to charities and the state,” said Brendan Goggin, co-owner and general manager of the Oakmont National Pub in Haverford.  But “to own a liquor license already requires a standard background check and now we need an FBI background check to sell a few tickets? That’s tough for some people to swallow,” he said. “I’m hoping the state (agencies) will work with us to help make the process a little less daunting.”  It also costs money: There’s a $2,000 non-refundable application fee, to be split between the liquor board and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. On approval, the applicant must pay another $2,000 for the license. The annual renewal fee is another $1,000.  “Am I going to be happy to put out $4,000 before I generate the first dollar of revenue? No,” Berry said. “But it’s not like the state is going to say, ‘Here you go guys. Good luck with legalized gaming and call us when you want more.”

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