© 2023 90.5 WESA
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Application Process Underway for Small Games in Bars

Applications are now being accepted for new the new Tavern Gaming License, made possible by Act 90. The law allows certain liquor licensees, such as bars and taverns, to operate small games of chance

“The new law is very specific,” said PLCB spokeswoman Stacy Kriedman. “It allows pull-tab games, daily drawing and tavern raffles, games that must be, in part, for a charitable or public purpose.”

Such games were previously allowed only in private clubs such as VFWs and American Legion Halls. To qualify, an establishment must meet certain requirements including holding an active and current hotel liquor license, privately owned public golf course license, a brewery pub license or a restaurant liquor license, but even those come with restrictions.

“There are certain entities that have a restaurant liquor license that may not be able to apply,” Kriedeman said. “Casinos are not allowed to apply under the new law, grocery stores or supermarkets are not allowed to apply under the new law, so there are some caveats with that.”

Once an application is submitted, Kriedeman said it’s hard to determine what the timeline for acceptance will be. The applications go first to the PLCB, then to the Gaming Control Board for a background check, then back to the PLCB to determine approval or denial.

“The length of the process will sort of depend, or will very much depend on the licensee,” said Kriedeman. “Whether or not they fill out the application legibly, whether they submit all the information, it’ll depend on how long the background check takes, so it’s hard to put a timeline on that.”

Seven seminars were held across the state in advance of applications being accepted, more than 1,700 people attended, but so far only a few applications have been submitted.

“We didn’t anticipate that we would get a large influx right away because there is a process, so it’s going to take licensees some time to pull together the necessary information as well as fill out the application and send it in,” said Kriedeman.

Applications will have to be renewed annually. In addition to the PLCB and Gaming Control Board, the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue will have a role; it will collect applicable taxes. The state will get 60 percent of the profits, bars 35 percent and the remaining 5 percent will go the municipality where the bar is located. The expansion of small games of chance is expected to generate an estimated $156 annually.

As a public media organization, WESA provides free and accessible news service to the public.

Please give now to continue providing fact-based journalism — a monthly gift of just $5 or $10 makes a big difference.