Pa. liquor board OKs tavern gambling license

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Will you one day be able to play games of chance at your local watering hole? It's about to happen now at one tavern in south central Pa.

Pennsylvania liquor regulators gave their permission Wednesday for the first license for a tavern in the state to operate small games of chance under a three-month-old law.

The Liquor Control Board voted to award a license to Midway Tavern in Hanover, Adams County.

The Hanover bar's owners must pay a $2,000 fee before they can start running the games.

State officials who are searching for additional sources of revenue to prop up a budget that is expected to be under considerable stress next year have projected that a tax on the new gambling will bring in about $100 million in the coming year's budget.

Analysts had expected that about 2,000 bar owners would get licenses, based on the experience of Indiana. So far, however, only 10 applications have been submitted to the Liquor Control Board.

Under the law, signed in November by Gov. Tom Corbett, thousands of bar owners can seek licenses to conduct pull-tab games, daily drawings and charity raffles.

Individual prize limits are $2,000 for a single game and $35,000 over seven days, while raffles are limited to one a month.

Before this law, Pennsylvania had last expanded gambling in 2010, allowing table games at slot-machine casinos, as a way to bandage a recession-wracked budget.

To neutralize some of the opposition, the Legislature also allowed private clubs and volunteer organizations keep more of their profits from small games of chance by relaxing requirements on how much must go to public interest or charitable purposes.

Lawmakers also agreed to expand from six to eight the number of games that the clubs and organizations can offer, as well as raise some maximum prizes.

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Allentown, PA 18102




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