Bar Owners Turnout For Info on New Tavern Gaming License - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

Bar Owners Turnout For Info on New Tavern Gaming License

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Beginning next Monday, taverns and other retail liquor license holders in Pennsylvania will be able to apply for the state's new tavern gaming license signed into law at the end of 2013.

Those interested had a chance to attend an information session at the Bayfront Convention Center to learn what it takes to apply.  It's one in a series of information sessions being held across Pennsylvania. 

The owner of the Rathskeller on State Street, and the co-manager of Haggerty's Tavern on West 26th Street were among more than 300 tavern operators and liquor license holders looking to learn more about the application process. 

Starting January 27, bars, restaurants, hotels, even brew pubs can apply for a tavern gaming license that will allow them to offer three types of games of chance, pull tabs, daily drawings and tavern raffles for a charitable cause.

Tavern owners across the state lobbied for a shot at the games of chance already operated in VFW's or social clubs like the Erie Maennerchor.

It will cost a non-refundable $2,000 fee just to apply. One thousand of that will go for a background check. If approved, applicants will pay another $2,000 dollar fee for the initial license, and a $1,000 fee to renew annually.  So it's 4 thousand dollars just to get into the games.

State officials say applications must be complete and that even includes getting fingerprinted in advance.  And according to Jerry Waters Sr., Director of Regulatory Affairs for the PA Liquor Control Board, applicants can't have any troubled history. "The licensee will not have been in our nuisance bar program, and we'll be looking at their operational history...with regard to the licensee, I'm sure the gaming board will be looking at any criminal record and their operational history as well."

Still local tavern owners are willing to wade through the application process.  "We've been thinking about it for sure," said Meghann McMunn, co-manager of Haggerty's Tavern, "we think it might be a good thing to increase sales and add some more fun things for our customers."

A sample application was handed out at the session, but the real applications will be available on the PA Liquor Control Board website beginning Monday January 27.  Applicants can expect the vetting process to take some time, with the PLCB, PSP Liquor Enforcement, the PA Revenue Department and the PA Gaming Board all involved. 

If approved, taverns will have to remit 60% of the take to the PA Revenue Department,  5% to the local municipality and their 35% profit will be taxed. For the application check out www.lcb.state.pa.us.

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