Remember about a year ago when the subject of adding blackjack and other table games to existing Pennsylvania brick and mortar casinos was being discussed? Also on that topic was the opening of new Pennsylvania brick and mortar casinos. And like any legislation
Right now blackjack at the new Pennsylvania casinos is at its best. Players are currently enjoying a house edge of 0.4% if they play according to basic strategy, which is lower than the typical basic strategy blackjack house edge. But such a house edge may not last, and speculation is already building on what will change.
With the opening of any new casino, the games are highly likely to have more player favorable rules and therefore lower house edges. This is done primarily to bring new players in and get them comfortable with the casino in hopes that they will return even if the rules change.
And the rules almost always change.
When the Gaming Control Board of Pennsylvania fist set down the blackjack rules, they did so with the intention of meeting a few months after the casinos had been open to discuss possible changes. The few months is drawing to a close, and member of the Gaming Control Board are not commenting on the possibility for changes to the blackjack rules.
And naturally the casinos are not going to mind changes to the blackjack rules as long as they are favored in the changes, which is likely. The casinos will present and promote the potential of gaining more through taxes with changes to the rules. And the need for revenue was the whole reason for legalizing casinos and blackjack and other table games in Pennsylvania. So I am guessing that if they learn that they could make more for changing a couple of rules, I am willing to bet they would make the changes.
So the state would get more revenue. The casinos would get a lot more in profit. And blackjack players would be left will less money in winnings in the long run.
What rules would be changed?
The Wizard of Odds is banking on them allowing dealers to hit soft 17s and that the natural blackjack payout be changed from a 3-2 payout to a 6-5 payout. The change in payout alone would increase the house edge by 1.4% alone. But both rule changes combined would raise the house edge to 1.9%. Again, that is if you are playing according to basic strategy, and with rule changes like that on the horizon, you had better be playing according to basic strategy.
Now no rule changes have been made yet. But gaming professionals have seen rules change after a casino has been open for a few months, and they have seen which rules change the most often. This is what makes them think that the good blackjack rules Pennsylvania players are enjoying now could be shuffled along for house friendly blackjack rules.
If you live in Pennsylvania you had better get your blackjack in now should the rules change.
Build it and they will come. Or rather, add them and they will come.
There were many people in Pennsylvania that were either skeptical or downright opposed adding blackjack tables to the casinos found in their state. The objections and disbelief ranged from
Remember when Pennsylvania and Florida and other states wanted to add casinos or add table games like blackjack to casinos already in existence? Well, it is now trickling down to a city level.
Similar to several states, now cities are eyeing gambling as a source to alleviate the strain on their budgets. North Charleston is one of the most recent.
Mayor Keith Summey
On Thursday of last week three brick and mortar casinos in western Pennsylvania opened the blackjack tables, drawing patrons away from the long haul drive to Atlantic City to enjoy some blackjack.
Unfortunately for Atlantic City the run of Pennsylvania casinos is not at an end yet. This past Tuesday, July 13th, saw the opening of blackjack tables in three eastern Pennsylvania casinos.
Blackjack players all over Pennsylvania are very excited with the addition of their favorite casino game in six casinos. This follows months of back and forth political arguments earlier this year about whether or not the State would allow table games like blackjack, roulette and craps to be added to their game offerings. But the demand was there and the income to the State in gaming taxes was needed. Everyone wins. Well, except for Atlantic City.
For decades Atlantic City was the mecca of East Coast gambling in the United States. But with the down turn in the economy and a lack of funds trickling down the government hill, states began looking at other ways to bring in money.
Pennsylvania is not the only state to look to gambling. Florida recently settled a long standing dispute with the Seminole tribe about blackjack there. Florida will be making $1.5 billion over the next five years from their deal with the Seminoles.
But with the addition of blackjack to the casino games at the Rivers, Meadows and Presque Isle Downs casinos in western Pennsylvania and the Mohegan Sun, Mount Airy and Hollywood casinos in eastern Pennsylvania could spell even more trouble for Atlantic City.
Not only will the time-honored East Coast gambling destination be competing with these six improved casinos next door, they might also be competing against online gambling. New Jersey is looking at legalizing online gambling for New Jersey residents that would make the competition even greater for Atlantic City.
While Pennsylvania blackjack players are quite happy with the new table games in six of their casinos, we shall have to see how Atlantic City fares over the next few years. Will it be able to keep itself afloat or will it sink in the ocean that is the gambling industry.
Last week blackjack tables in three western Pennsylvania casinos opened:Rivers, Meadows and Presque. They ran the blackjack table test on July 6th and then opened completely on July 8th, much to the pleasure of local residents.
The addition of blackjack tables and other table game such as roulette, craps and mini baccarat are now pulling patrons away from the slot machines in favor of casino games they feel more in control of, especially blackjack.
Staff noticed a difference in the noise, energy and excitement of the casinos
Do you know what brick and mortar casinos do with the proceeds from their test dates? No? Well in western Pennsylvania they donate the proceeds from test dates to charity. That means any money you lose at the blackjack table is going to a good cause.
That might even be a very good reason to lose at blackjack.
The Meadows is set to open its doors and have its blackjack tables up and running on July 8th. However, before they turn the blackjack dealers loose, they need to make sure that their dealers are ready to go and see that operations at the table games will run smoothly when the new 68 table games, including the blackjack tables, are opened.
In Washington County, home of the Meadows, any revenue generated from table games like blackjack has to be donated to charity, minus the portion that is paid to the government in taxes of course.
Since the Meadows opening in 2007 they have had several test dates for various additions to their casino. Former recipients of test day revenue have been volunteer fire departments, the Washington County Food Bank, the Washington Women
With the fairly recent approval of table games for casinos in Pennsylvania, the latest debate is about what kind of casino chips to use at the blackjack tables. Casino managers voice their concerns about the security of chips at their blackjack tables.
Earlier this week I discussed how the Meadows in western Pennsylvania has already decided to use casino chips with micro chips embedded in them. They are meant to make for quick adding up of wagers made and for quick cash outs at the casino
Imagine a game of blackjack in which you place your chips on the table and your betting total is instantly calculated by the casino. The casino is watching you and your chips, and how you are betting in blackjack, how much you a betting.
Sound a tad Big Brother?
Well, it does kind of sound that way. It seems casinos may have found a way to track their chips. The Meadows in Pennsylvania says that it might have in place microchipped casino chips. These chips would use a radio frequency identification technology to communicate with the casino.
According to the Meadows these microchipped casino chips can be used at a blackjack table to add up a player