Pennsylvania weighs value of table games

Sep 22, 2009 5:05 PM
by Ray Poirier |

So how much value do table games bring to a slots facility?

That’s the question being debated in Pennsylvania where the state now has nine slot-machine casinos generating more than $1.5 billion in tax revenue to the state and local governments.

Some, if not all, of those slots properties would like to convert into a full-fledged casino by adding table games. After all, table games are now being played in 28 states, either commercially or in Indian-owned casinos.

And, Pennsylvania lawmakers would like to accommodate them. But a major disagreement has arisen in the debate regarding the amount the state should charge for a table games license.

So far the most popular number is $200 million which the state desperately needs to help close a multibillion-dollar budget gap, a shortfall driven by the current recession.

However, skepticism abounds. One lawmaker called the $200 million excessive based on studies she had seen.

Whether they can overcome that problem is still being debated. If it gets resolved, the two houses of the legislature must address the additional problem of how much to tax table games revenue. That question hasn’t yet been even discussed.