Midstate tavern to get 1st small games license - abc27 WHTM

Midstate tavern to get 1st small games license

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The Midway Tavern in Hanover, Adams County has an historic look and it's about to make history.

The Midway is expected to be the first establishment in the state sanctioned to offer small games of chance under a law that passed the legislature late last year.

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is expected to approve its application at Wednesday morning's meeting in Harrisburg.

"It's a revenue stream," said Ronda Zeigler, whose husband, Barry, owns the Midway. "It creates another revenue stream for the tavern and helps subsidize the bottom line and operational costs."

But Ronda says getting a small games license is no small feat. She pulls out three huge stacks of paperwork from the process.

"You have to do a tavern application which is 22 pages, and you have to do an individual application which is 22 pages, and then you have to have both documents notarized in two different places," she said.

There's also a photo ID, driver's license, Social Security card, fingerprints and federal background check.

Besides the mountain of paperwork, there's the money. It's not cheap.

"A thousand dollars for a background check, and a thousand for the application and then when your license is granted it's a $2,000 thank you Commonwealth of Pennsylvania," Ronda said with a smile.

Actually, the Pennsylvania Treasury should be thanking Midway and other taverns for playing the game. The state will take 60 percent off the top of all tickets sold. Municipalities get another five percent, leaving 35 percent for bar owners.

The governor's budget is counting on $100 million dollars from small games. That might be a rosy projection considering only ten establishments statewide have applied for licenses.

Lawmakers want to streamline the application process.

"It comes back to overzealous government and we need to trim it back," Rep. Seth Grove (R-York) said.

The PLCB, one of four state agencies with a hand in the procedure or oversight, acknowledges its complexity.

"We're gonna look at the process," PLCB spokeswoman Stacy Kriedeman said. "We've already touched base with the Gaming Control Board to see what we might do to be able to be helpful."

Ronda says less legalese in the application would be a start. She also thinks bar owners are scared off by potential harm to their liquor licenses.

If there are violations on the gambling side in a particular bar, they would count against the all-important liquor license. It's a gamble many owners are unwilling to take.

But perhaps state officials should pull up a stool at the Midway, grab a beer and take notes.

"When they were making up all these rules they did not call Ronda Zeigler and say what do you think? I'd be happy to tell 'em," Zeigler said with a laugh.

Bar owners are also taking the financial gamble. They pay for the license and the small games plus taxes up front. There's no guarantee they'll pay off.

The Midway is about to find out if it was all worth it.

"It's like having a soda machine out front. You don't know how much soda you're gonna sell, but you have to offer it," Zeigler said.


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