Gaming Control Board Approves First Wave of Table Games Regulations
HARRISBURG, PA: The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board today approved a number of table games regulations, including those that define the rules of some of the more popular games that will be offered later this year at Commonwealth casinos.
The adoption comes less than three weeks after passage of Act 1 of 2010 that authorized table games at existing Pennsylvania casinos.
The Act permits the Board to adopt temporary regulations for a two year period in order to facilitate the prompt implementation of table games. Gaming Control Board Executive Director Kevin O’Toole says this ability to promulgate temporary regulations will assist the Board in moving forward in one area of a multi-faceted and complex process.
“The legal rollout of table games includes the adoption of a tremendous amount of new regulations to define the required oversight that will protect the integrity and fairness of the games,” O’Toole says. “Certainly, the ability by this Board to significantly shorten the period of time normally required to gain adoption of new regulations will be beneficial in moving the implementation of table games along in a time frame that meets the expectations of the legislature and the public.”
The adopted temporary regulations contain provisions that will enable casino operators to offer table games with a well-defined set of rules for conducting Roulette, Big Six Wheel, Craps and Blackjack. Each regulation contains requirements related to all aspects of these games including items such as:
• the physical characteristics of the tables and equipment used for the play of each game;
• procedures that must be followed prior to the opening of the table for play;
• a description of how each game must be played;
• lists of all of the permissible wagers;
• the minimum payout odds that must be used; and,
• how any irregularities shall be treated.
Also adopted today by the Board were regulations requiring certificate holders to submit and gain approval of a Rules Submission for every game they offer when the Board’s regulations allow the certificate holders to select different options for the play of a game, as well as alternate payout tables or the like. In drafting the regulations for specific table games, Board staff has attempted to give certificate holders some flexibility so that they can tailor their games to meet their patrons’ desires. However, to effectively monitor and enforce the rules related to the play of table games, the Board must know what features or options will be used for each game at each licensed facility. Using the Rules Submission process, which is modeled on the process for the review of internal controls, will provide an effective mechanism to accomplish this.
Additionally, the Board promulgated temporary regulations that set forth the minimum surveillance requirements that must be met before a certificate holder may offer table games. It contains minimum requirements for camera coverage of gaming activities and restates the requirement that all surveillance recordings must be made available to the Board and the Pennsylvania State Police upon request. It is the Staff’s intent to integrate these requirements into the requirements contained in § 465a.9 (relating to surveillance system; surveillance department control; surveillance department restrictions). However, to give certificate holders as much lead time as is possible so that they can begin the redesign process of their gaming floors, these requirements are being promulgated as a temporary regulation.
About the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, established in 2004 with the passage the Race Horse Development and Gaming Act, is Pennsylvania’s first new state agency in nearly 40 years. The Gaming Control Board is tasked to oversee all aspects of the state’s casino industry. To date, with nine of a maximum fourteen casinos in operation, legalized gaming in the Commonwealth has created over 8,000 new living wage jobs, revenue that has provided property tax reduction in each of the past two years for all homeowners, and funds that have reinvigorated Pennsylvania’s horse racing industry. Information about the Gaming Control Board and Pennsylvania’s gaming industry can be found at www.pgcb.state.pa.us.
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