Gaming Control Board To Begin Its Work To Permit Table Games At Pennsylvania Casinos
Process Expected to Take 6 to 9 Months
HARRISBURG: Gaming Control Board Chairman Gregory C. Fajt said today that the passage of legislation that permits tables games at existing slot machine casinos in the Commonwealth signals a start to a complex and thorough process by the agency.
"The challenge to oversee a managed expansion at Pennsylvania’s casinos from a regulatory perspective is now before us and the Gaming Control Board is well-prepared," Fajt said. "At the same time, no one should believe that implementing table games is as simple as turning on a spigot. We will move the process along as quickly as possible, but will not sacrifice thoroughness for speed."
Fajt estimates the length of this process will take 6 to 9 months requiring a significant amount of resources by both the PGCB and casino operators.
Gaming Control Board Executive Director Kevin F. O’Toole said the ability to expedite the agency’s work is in large part dependent upon the thoroughness of the information provided by the casinos, equipment manufacturers and suppliers.
"In many ways, establishing table games will involve much of the same tasks performed by the Gaming Control Board over a multi-year period to get the slot machine market up and running. In other words, it is a significant amount of work," O’Toole states. "We will do what is necessary, but will be dependent on the casinos and vendors supplying us with the required information that will allow us to perform our work."
O’Toole said that agency staff, in anticipation of the eventual passage of the table games legislation, have been working on draft regulations for each of the popular table games that are anticipated to be offered at casinos.
"The regulatory process is just one portion of the work before us," he said. "While the legislation does grant us temporary regulatory authority and will accelerate our ability to finalize regulations for the rules of individual table games, as well as internal controls for table games, it is just one of many steps necessary to make sure the public’s interests are protected."
Among the items that the PGCB will tackle during the coming months in order to roll out table games are:
Obtain applications and perform background investigations on thousands of new employees to be hired at the casinos as the result of expansion into table games. These include dealers, table game supervisors, count room personnel, surveillance and other support staff.
Conduct background investigations for licensing of new manufacturers, suppliers and vendors that will provide goods and services for table games.
Inspect and approve new gaming floor plans.
Assure that each casino will accommodate the higher level of needed surveillance to monitor table game play.
Hire and train additional PGCB staff to provide onsite compliance and auditing.
Perform investigative work on each casino petition requesting the addition of table games and hold a hearing for each in the municipality in which the casino operates. This will include obtaining oral and written comments from citizens and public officials.
About the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board was established in 2004 with the passage of Act 71, also known as the Race Horse Development and Gaming Act. 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. A wealth of information about the Gaming Control Board and Pennsylvania’s gaming industry can be found at www.pgcb.state.pa.us. At this web site, videos and information on the operation of the PGCB, problem gambling efforts and assistance, future meeting schedules and past meeting transcripts, and a link to request a speaker are among the many items available.