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Blackjack, Table Gaming Coming to Pennsylvania Casinos

The Pennsylvania legislature passed a bill bringing table games like blackjack to state casinos.

The Pennsylvania legislature beat Governor Ed Rendell's announced deadline of Friday by two days in passing a compromise bill legalizing table games at state casinos. Gambling at the casinos will now add blackjack, roulette, baccarat, and poker to the existing slots.

Rendell had pushed hard for the bill, saying the budget had been planned with the expected $250 million from additional gambling revenue included, and that failure to pass the measure could mean layoffs of a thousand government employees.

The table gambling bill passed the House today with a vote of 103 to 89. The state Senate had passed it a day earlier, 28 to 22.

"This is a common sense, bipartisan piece of legislation that makes our gaming facilities more competitive, improves the public's confidence in gaming, raises money we desperately need in these tough financial times, and -- most importantly --helps put thousands of people to work in a brand-new industry," said Dante Santoni, chairman of the House Gaming Oversight Committee.

Under the new law, large casinos are permitted as many as 250 tables, while smaller resorts are limited to 50 tables.

One of the controversial aspects to the bill that was included in the final version is the legalization of casino markers for Pennsylvania casinos. Now, patrons can request and be granted credit on which to gamble, a provision some found to be troublesome with its potential for uncontrolled problem gambling.

Published on January 6, 2010 by A.J.Maldonado

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