Blackjack players in Pennsylvania have cause to celebrate.
After months and months of debate, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted last night to approve table games. The racinos and slots-only casinos already in the state will be allowed to expand their offerings with the sorts of table games that can be found in Vegas—including blackjack.
Tuesday night saw the Pennsylvania Senate approving the bill. And Pennsylvania State Governor Ed Rendell has already said he would sign.
The good news coming from this bill isn’t limited to giving Pennsylvania blackjack fans a place to play; it is also good news for the state itself.
The revenue from this bill—expected to about $250 million—will fill in the gap in the state’s budget for this fiscal year. It will also prevent around 1,000 state employees from losing their jobs. And there will be jobs, an estimated 10,000, to come since the casinos and racinos will have to have employees to man their new table games—calling blackjack dealers!
Larger casinos in Pennsylvania will have to pay a licensing fee of $16.5 million. The smaller resort casinos will only have to pay $7.5 million. But the casinos will also have to pay a percentage in state taxes as well. For the first two years, it is a 14% tax which will drop when those first two years are up to 12%. But there is also a 2% local tax which will remain in effect.
It is predicted that in the next 18 months $320 million in revenue will be generated—and that is much needed in that state.
It could take up to another six months before blackjack and other table games are installed while licensing and regulations are sorted out, new employees trained and the tables actually installed.
With this sort of increase in state revenue and in job creation, it’s a wonder other states with casinos don’t take another look at gambling as a source of money for their states. And why the federal government should consider licensing and regulating online gambling for revenue too.
But within six months, blackjack players in or neat Pennsylvania will have a place to play without having to travel to Atlantic City or Vegas.