Pennsylvania state Rep. William DeWeese introduced a bill last month to add table games to Pennsylvania’s casinos. Under the measure, operators of the currently slot-only casinos would pay a million up-front fee to add blackjack, craps and other table games.
The bill, a response to the introduction of table games in the adjacent state of Delaware and expansion of table operations in West Virginia, another bordering state, is expected to receive
serious consideration because of a $3.2 billion budget deficit.
State Senator Tommy Tomlinson confirmed that he will introduce a similar bill in the Senate.
Convincing Governor Ed Rendell may not be easy. Rendell last month reiterated his longstanding position that all the 14 authorized slot venues should be up and running before the state considers table games. However, he did say that if the bill passes both chambers, he will “take a look
It is estimated that table games could generate as much as $300 million in additional revenue for the state. Casino owners say they could have tables up and running within six months after approval.
Meanwhile, a new study shows that legalizing table games in Pennsylvania would create more than 10,000 jobs and generate more than $164 million in additional gaming taxes.
The study, conducted by the Innovation Group, was forwarded to Pennsylvania lawmakers as they prepared to debate table game legislation.
The study “shows the positive impact that table games would have on Pennsylvania,” said DeWeese spokesman Tom Andrews in an interview with the Lehigh Valley’s Express Times newspaper. “That’s the reason (DeWeese) is introducing the bill—the positive impact it would have in generating revenue.”
The study examined the effects of table installation on revenue performance in West Virginia and Iowa in formulating the estimates. The job estimates are based on the Innovation Group’s observation that “a 100-table game operation would require more than 3.5 times the number of employees as a 3,000-slot machine operation.”