Pennsylvania casinos’ adding more table games, while reducing their slot machines, should come as no surprise.
Under the state’s tax rates, the house gets to keep a bigger share of each dollar lost at the blackjack table, as compared to a buck gobbled up by a one-armed bandit. So, moves in the last year to reduce slot machines at five locations, while table games were added at seven betting parlors, were all about the bottom line.
Casino operators hope more table games will draw more gamblers of all stripes, but over the long term that trend may be bad for tax relief provided by gaming. Indeed, property-tax reductions this year will decrease slightly. That’s not entirely attributable to gamblers' moving from slots to roulette, but it appears to be a growing part of the revenue picture.
In about a year, the state’s slice of table-game winnings will shrink by law when a lower tax rate of only 14 percent kicks in, while slots revenues will continue to be taxed at 55 percent.