In an effort to educate retail liquor licensees interested in tavern gaming, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, Gaming Control Board, Department of Revenue and State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement will hold a series of informational seminars across Pennsylvania beginning with a January 13 event in Harrisburg.
All of the sessions listed below begin at 1:00 p.m. and end no later than 3:00 p.m. If you are interested in participating, please register in advance for your preferred location online.
-- Dauphin County: January 14, State Museum of Pennsylvania, 300 North St., Harrisburg;
-- Philadelphia County: January 16, Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch St., Philadelphia;
-- Northampton County: January 17, Best Western Plus Lehigh Valley Hotel and Conference Center, 300 Gateway Dr., Bethlehem;
-- Allegheny County: January 21, Double Tree by Hilton Pittsburgh – Green Tree, 500 Mansfield Ave., Pittsburgh;
-- Erie County: January 22, Bayfront Convention Center, 1 Sassafras Pier, Erie; and
-- Blair County: January 23, Blair County Convention Center, 1 Convention Center Dr., Altoona;
-- Luzerne County: January 24, Best Western Genetti Hotel and Conference Center, 77 E. Market St., Wilkes Barre.
Signed into law on November 27, Act 90 of 2013 allows the owners of most retail liquor licenses the ability to apply for a new Tavern Gaming License when the application becomes available on January 27.
The new license grants owners the authority to offer tavern raffles for a charitable or public purpose, pull-tab games and tavern daily drawings.
"Since the 'Tavern Gaming License' is completely new, the PLCB, in conjunction with the Gaming Control Board, developed a new application and application process based on the statutory requirements detailed in the law," said PLCB Chairman Joseph E. Brion. "The goal of these sessions is to provide our liquor licensees with important information about the application and what's expected before it becomes available to facilitate a smooth application process. We anticipate there will be numerous questions, so we encourage our licensees to attend the meetings to begin that dialogue."
Under the new law, retail alcohol beverage licensees may be eligible to apply for the Tavern Gaming License with the exception of: Eating Place Retail Dispenser Licenses, Club and Catering Club Licenses, Grocery Stores, Casinos, and Venues that hold a professional sporting events.
While the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board will process the applications and ultimately approve them, other state agencies will have a role in tavern gaming as well. For instance, the Gaming Control Board will conduct a thorough background check on applicants and provide that information to the PLCB.
"The need for a tavern gaming applicant to be forthright and complete in providing information cannot be understated," said Paul Mauro, director of the PGCB's Bureau of Investigations and Enforcement. "The more required information that we need to go back and request from the applicant means a longer application process, the possibility of additional background check costs and a delay in the approval by the PLCB of the license."
During the informational sessions, the Department of Revenue will discuss the new tavern tax and its filing and payment obligations related to taverns, as well as the annual reporting requirements of the law.
"While we recognize taverns' immediate interest is in understanding the application process to become licensed to sell tavern games, we appreciate this early opportunity to provide taverns basic information about the tax obligations that accompany this new business opportunity," said Secretary of Revenue Dan Meuser. "The Department of Revenue is eager to inform taverns to enable them to comply with the tax law, and ultimately, to maximize this new revenue stream for Pennsylvania."
The State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement will enforce the licensing and gaming requirements of the new law in addition to maintaining their current responsibilities enforcing the Liquor Code.
These seminars are intended for taverns interested in Tavern Gaming Licenses only; small games of chance distributors, club licensees and eligible organizations are discouraged from attending and are instead encouraged to visit Revenue’s Small Games Of Chance webpage for information on how Acts 90 and 92 of 2013 impact them.Anyone with questions regarding the informational sessions is encouraged to call 717-783-8250.