PGCB Chairman Decker Hails Early Success of Expanded Gaming In Pennsylvania
HARRISBURG: Expanded gaming is expected to contribute more than $500 million in revenue to the Commonwealth in the current fiscal year, Tad Decker, chairman of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board told gaming professionals at the third annual Pennsylvania Gaming Congress and Racing Forum in Harrisburg today.
“With just four of a potential 14 casinos open, we have already posted some impressive numbers and expect to contribute $501.5 million in revenue to the Commonwealth by the end of this fiscal year,” Decker said. He also pointed out that Pennsylvania moved from the Gaming Control Board’s first meeting in December 2004 to the opening of the first casino less than two years later in November 2006.
When all 14 venues are open, gaming is expected to generate $1.5 billion a year in revenue for the Commonwealth and local communities, based on annual gross terminal revenue of $3 billion.
“Our task at the Gaming Control Board was straightforward enough: Lay the foundation of the PGCB and regulation of Pennsylvania’s gaming industry, while simultaneously protecting the people of Pennsylvania, as required by Act 71,” Decker said. He also outlined the work ahead for the Board and explained that the agency is evolving to focus more on the regulation of gaming so that Pennsylvanians can enjoy the benefits of our state’s newest industry.
“Unlike the very visible and public licensing process, most of the work ahead will take place out of the public eye, but it is all geared to helping the Gaming Control Board meet the mandates set out for it in the Gaming Act: providing a safe environment with first-class entertainment to casino patrons that is profitable to operators and, by extension, to the people of Pennsylvania,” Decker said.
Decker said that all of Pennsylvania’s gaming locations will be under close supervision by the Board, and licensees will be subject to fines, suspension or revocation of the privilege to operate in Pennsylvania if they violate the state’s gaming law or Board regulation.
In addition, Decker listed some particular tasks that will be performed onsite at the licensed facilities that are of utmost importance in the PGCB’s oversight role of the gaming industry:
- Special teams of Board staff will conduct extensive tests of all systems at each location, and the casino will be allowed to open only after all systems are working properly;
- Every slot machine that operates in Pennsylvania must be tested and certified for accuracy and then must be linked to a Central Control Computer system operated by the state Department of Revenue in Harrisburg;
- Barring the presence of persons excluded by law from the casino floor - underage and intoxicated people, or those with compulsive gambling problems who have chosen to use the self-exclusion program;
- Staff will also inspect and approve the count room, cashiers’ cages, check-cashing, wire transfer and related systems at every facility before it is allowed to open.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Congress ran March 12 and 13 under the theme “Let the Gaming Begin” and provided both networking and educational opportunities to gaming professionals.