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Pennsylvania Rolls Out Table Games in Casinos

The news just keeps getting worse for Atlantic City. Not only will their casinos likely have to compete with local online casinos and poker rooms soon, but Pennsylvania’s slots casinos are opening up their table games now. All across Pennsylvania, casinos will soon be offering roulette, craps, blackjack, baccarat, poker, and more. This week, they’ll be starting with the Western Pennsylvania casinos, giving three casinos a head start over the rest of the state. By mid-September, the Parx casino in Bensalem will be offering table games too. For many New Jersey residents, Bensalem, a suburb of Philadelphia, is closer than Atlantic City.

The licenses alone have generated $165 million in revenues for the state, leading Governor Rendell to say that “on balance, it will be good for the people of Pennsylvania.” The state expects to see another $15 million in licensing fees this year from two more casinos that have not yet opened up their table games, and the projected income from the 16% tax on table game revenues is expected to yield another $75 million for the state.

While the numbers certainly look great in a time when most states are having extreme difficulties making their budgets work, policy analyst Lucy Dadayan from the Rockefeller Institute of Government at the State University of New York in Albany warns against thinking of tables games as a magic bullet. She says “States cannot become dependent on gambling revenue, as the tax benefits generated from the gambling are usually short-lived and do not keep pace with the growth in spending and other revenue sources.”

She warns that it can create financial damage in the long run and worries about the social and personal implications as well. For those who have a gambling addiction, the added availability of table games, which tend to be higher-stakes than slots and video poker, could mean higher rates of bankruptcy, divorce, and crime. Representative Paul Clymer said “…divorce, embezzlements, bankruptcies, dysfunctional families, and crime. This only takes money out of the local economy. There is no ripple effect. You lose your money, and that’s it.”

Obviously, he forgot that those casinos will hire hundreds of new employers to be dealers, cashiers, servers, and security guards. In a time when many are unemployed, several hundreds of jobs seem like more than just a ripple effect.

For Atlantic City, though, the news is bad. They will have to improve the boardwalk, enhance the resort experience, and deal with the fact that they’re no longer the top casino destination on the east coast.

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  1. Dealer Training in Advance of Table Games Opening in Pennsylvania | Casino B Blog linked to this post on July 8, 2010

    [...] a dealer at a casino looks like an easy job, but for a group of new recruits in Pennsylvania, the reality is hitting home. It’s turning out to be more difficult than they anticipated. [...]



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