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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: March 18, 2021 03:04 PM
From: Representative Kurt A. Masser
To: All House members
Subject: Amending the Local Option Small Games of Chance (former HB1274)
In the near future, I will be re-introducing legislation amending the Local Option Small Games of Chance Act (SGOC Act) to make tavern gaming more accessible for the Commonwealth’s taverns, and more profitable to the Commonwealth.

By way of background, Act 90 of 2013 amended the SGOC Act to permit certain liquor license holders to conduct three small games of chance: daily drawings, raffles and pull-tabs. According to estimates from the previous administration, tavern gaming was supposed to generate $156 million in ongoing tax revenue for the Commonwealth from an estimated 2,000 licensees. However, only 51 taverns have successfully obtained a license to date, and the Commonwealth has yet to receive significant revenue from this new gaming option.

There are three main reasons for such a dramatic shortfall in license applications: the application process is too cumbersome, the taxes/fees are too high and gaming infractions could affect a tavern’s liquor license. In summation, tavern gaming provides increased risk to a liquor license while not providing a tavern owner with any substantial increase in profits. In order to address these issues, my legislation will provide for the following:
  • Transfer licensing and enforcement authority from the PGCB and LCE to the Department of Revenue, which may levy civil fines for violations of the Act;
  • Prohibit a gaming violation from affecting a liquor license, unless it is the fourth violation;
  • Require a more reasonable background check investigation of applicants;
  • Eliminate the $1,000 investigation fee and lower the license renewal fee to $500;
  • Increase the amount a tavern may retain from small games and decrease the tax rate;
  • Allow more liquor license holders to be eligible for a tavern gaming license; and
  • Permit taverns to operate weekly drawings.
I hope you will consider cosponsoring this legislation that will both help our struggling taverns and provide needed revenues to the Commonwealth. If you have any questions regarding this legislation, please contact the office at 260-6134.

Introduced as HB1292