Atlantic City casinos to face trouble from Pennsylvania

Jan 12, 2010 3:28 AM


Economically-troubled Atlantic City casinos, struggling to overcome reduced tourism and fewer gaming dollars, will face even greater competition during these coming months as Pennsylvania gaming parlors transform their facilities into full-fledged casinos.

Competing with the thousands of slot machines approved by Pennsylvania lawmakers was difficult enough but last week’s approval of table games will eliminate the one advantage Atlantic City casinos held over the Pennsylvania properties.

The new law approves blackjack, poker, craps, baccarat, roulette and other non-specified games of chance.

Each large casino, after paying $16.5 million for a license, can install 250 table games. The smaller properties will be charged $7.5 million for a license that will enable them to set up 50 tables.

It is expected that the properties will have the tables in full swing within six to nine months.

Beneficial to the Pennsylvania casino operators will be the established tax rate that calls for just 16 percent in the first year. That figure will drop to 14 percent at the end of the second year of operation.

Although some table game manufacturers are expected to prosper from the legislation, analysts took a dim view of the impact the expanded gaming will have on Atlantic City properties, especially those that cater to high-end customers.