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By in Latest News Comments Off on PaTaverns letter to House LCC on HB 2272

PaTaverns letter to House LCC on HB 2272

Pasted below is a letter to the Pennsylvania House Liquor Control Committee concerning HB 2272, a bill that through a constitutional amendment could potentially privatize the state’s liquor business. The Liquor Control Committee requested our Association’s position prior to its June 8, 2022, voting meeting on this bill. The bill moved out of committee on a party-line vote.

 

June 6, 2022

Chairman Carl Metzgar
Chairman Dan Deasy
Pennsylvania House Liquor Control Committee

 

Dear Chairmen Metzgar and Deasy,

Privatizing Pennsylvania’s liquor business is not as simple as HB 2272 makes it out to be.

The state’s liquor business is a web of rules and politics. Pulling one lever activates a series of reactions within the industry. As such, it is dangerous for taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants to support HB 2272 as it is written.  To do so would be taking a leap of faith, not knowing if our segment of the industry would be protected from unintended consequences.

As the statewide political voice of family-owned establishments which provide tens of thousands of jobs while supporting local economies and communities, the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association agrees – in concept – that change is needed. We also realize there are many other problems within the state’s liquor system including antiquated liquor codes that need to be updated for the 21st Century.

HB 2272 does not address outdated rules and makes no promises about how privatization of the state’s liquor sales system would work.  The Association will not support any change that fails to protect the future of family-owned establishments.

That said, the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association (PLBTA) cannot take a position on HB 2272 at this time.  Instead, PLBTA would be happy to recommend changes so that small businesses don’t become collateral damage. Our position on finalizing support or opposition of a constitutional amendment regarding private wholesale/retail wine and spirits sales remains dependent on current and future discussions about what that future looks like.

Sincerely,
Chuck Moran
Executive Director
Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association

By in Latest News Comments Off on Statement: Pa Senate passes PLBTA initiative SB 1212

Statement: Pa Senate passes PLBTA initiative SB 1212

The following is a statement from Chuck Moran, executive director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association, concerning today’s action in the Pennsylvania Senate passing SB 1212. The PLBTA, based in Harrisburg, is the statewide political voice for small business taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants.

 

Today, the Pennsylvania Senate passed SB 1212 by a 50-0 vote. This bill balances sound regulations for all liquor licensees while also addressing increased demand for outdoor dining and entertainment in light of continued COVID-19 illnesses.

Without this bill, outdoor dining growth is hampered by outdated liquor code that requires nearly all establishments to have no noise on their property lines or face citations. As a result, many tavern, bar, and licensed restaurant owners as well as clubs fear the consequences of having the slightest level of sound on their property line.

SB 1212 would allow all liquor licensees regardless of license type the same reasonable amount of sound on their property line. As the bill is written today, licensees would be permitted up to 75 decibels on their property line from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association has been stating throughout the pandemic that this type of reasonable change is much needed to help better accommodate those concerned about COVID. But, even before the pandemic, our Association had advocated for this change simply to be fair to all liquor licensees. This has been one of our legislative priorities set by our Board of Directors.

The PLBTA thanks the Pennsylvania Senate for its actions today on this matter. And, our Association thanks Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill for her sponsorship of the bill.

We encourage the Pennsylvania House to move this bill in a timely manner, and to pass it as is without amendments.

 

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By in Latest News Comments Off on Beer delivery problems have tavern owners frustrated

Beer delivery problems have tavern owners frustrated

The flow of beer to Pennsylvania bars, taverns, and licensed restaurants is slowing, as supply chain issues are forcing distributors to limit deliveries. In yet another sign of the times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the growing situation has establishments frustrated and looking for reasonable business solutions.

While reports have filtered in from various parts of the state including the southeast and northwest, the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association (PLBTA) says the epicenter appears to be in the southcentral section, where with little warning, Ace Beer Distributors (Universal Products, Inc. – LID 23446) informed bars, taverns, and clubs that they were cutting back deliveries to only twice per month.

On their website, Ace describes itself as representing “more than 350 brands (more than 2,000 products distributed!) from over 130 supplier partners and services over 1,400 direct retail partners across Lancaster, York, Adams, Franklin, Fulton, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lebanon, Perry, Mifflin, and Juniata counties.”

According to sources sharing information with the PLBTA, a labor crisis is to blame, specifically a lack of drivers.

In a recent letter to the Pennsylvania House Liquor Control Committee and the Pennsylvania Senate Law & Justice Committee, Chuck Moran, executive director of the PLBTA, told committee chairs that “the decision by Ace is quite problematic for small businesses that rely on the wholesaler.” Moran continued by writing, “Many family-owned taverns and bars do not have enough storage space to handle 2 or 3 weeks of malt beverage supplies.”

One club licensee recently wrote to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board with concerns about Ace’s delivery decision. The PLCB responded that the club could not pick up their own supplies, and they could not go out of a wholesaler’s territory to attempt to purchase supplies.

The only options offered were 1) to attempt to get a delivery from a smaller distributor (if they would even do so) within the wholesaler’s territory or 2) swap out popular more affordable national brands with local brands from breweries that deliver.

But delivery problems are not new. Before the pandemic, there were similar issues to a lesser degree; however, now those problems are being amplified.

A statewide membership survey conducted by the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association in 2019 showed that nearly 40 percent of PLBTA members surveyed had fewer delivery date options and nearly 20 percent had experienced delayed delivery of malt beverages from distributors. And more than one out of three members had run out of certain malt beverages and had to wait for a resupply.

Further complicating the issue are outdated liquor laws. By law, bar owners can only receive beer delivered from retail and importing distributors and can’t pick it up themselves.

While licensed bars, taverns and clubs can purchase liquors at a state store and personally deliver the supply to their bar or tavern, current law does not allow them to pick up and personally deliver malt beverages to their own establishment.

“In late 2019, we suggested a reasonable business solution to this problem, proposing legislation that would allow R, H, E, and club licensees to pick up a limited ‘emergency’ supply of beverages from the wholesaler or distributor and then deliver that supply to their own establishment when the wholesaler was unable to make a timely delivery,” Moran wrote in his letter to the legislative committees that oversee industry-related matters.

For now, Moran says his association hopes the legislature as well as distributors will listen to these concerns and help build business solutions.

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The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association is the statewide political voice for small business taverns and licensed restaurants. Based in Harrisburg, the Association formed after Prohibition in 1941, reorganized in 2019, and today advocates for best practices and rights within the industry as well as best experiences for patrons. To learn more, visit www.pataverns.com or follow the Association on Twitter via @TavernPA.

 

COPY OF LETTER SENT TO COMMITTEES

June 1, 2022

Hon. Carl Metzgar, Chair
Hon. Dan Deasy, Democratic Chair
House Liquor Control Committee

Chairmen Metzgar  and Deasy,

Three years ago, our Association alerted the House Liquor Control Committee and Senate Law & Justice Committee Chairs that delivery of malt beverages to bars and taverns was becoming problematic for our Members because growth in businesses selling beer and malt beverages at retail locations had increased considerably, slowing down deliveries to smaller licensees and causing bars and taverns to periodically run out of supplies and lose sales opportunities.

Today, as the industry struggles to recover from the losses created by Covid-19, this problem has been magnified. The issue of slow, or limited deliveries has gotten worse in 2022, as the entire alcoholic beverage industry continues to face labor issues and struggles to fill positions. While PLBTA is sympathetic to distributors’ labor problems, we also believe that a simple modernization of law could quickly resolve these issues for our Member bars, taverns and restaurants. By law, bar owners can only receive beer delivered from retail and importing distributors and can’t pick it up themselves. While licensed bars, taverns and clubs can purchase liquors at a state store and personally deliver the supply to their bar or tavern, current law does not allow them to pick up and personally deliver malt beverages to their own establishment.

In late 2019, we suggested a reasonable business solution to this problem, proposing legislation that would allow R, H, E, and club licensees to pick up a limited “emergency” supply of beverages from the wholesaler or distributor and then deliver that supply to their own establishment when the wholesaler was unable to make a timely delivery.

To cite one recent example, with little warning, Ace Beer Distributors (Universal Products, Inc. – LID 23446) informed bars, taverns, and clubs that they were cutting back deliveries to only twice per month. On their website, Ace describes itself as representing “more than 350 brands (more than 2,000 products distributed!) from over 130 supplier partners and services over 1,400 direct retail partners across Lancaster, York, Adams, Franklin, Fulton, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lebanon, Perry, Mifflin, and Juniata counties.”

The decision by Ace is quite problematic for small businesses that rely on the wholesaler. We are aware of similar problems ranging from Philadelphia to Erie. Many family-owned taverns and bars do not have enough storage space to handle 2 or 3 weeks of malt beverage supplies. In fact, one of our members recently attempted to do so, only to be cited by liquor control enforcement for storage issues.

One club licensee recently wrote to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board with concerns about Ace’s delivery decision. The PLCB responded that the club could not pick up their own supplies, and they could not go out of a wholesaler’s territory to attempt to purchase supplies. The only options offered were 1) to attempt to get a delivery from a smaller distributor (if they would even do so) within the wholesaler’s territory or 2) swap out popular more affordable national brands with local brands from breweries that deliver. Both options potentially would have negative financial consequences for the tavern, bar, licensed restaurant, or club.

These types of delivery issues are not limited to York County as similar problems have occurred in both SE and NW Pennsylvania. A statewide membership survey conducted by the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association in 2019 showed that nearly 40 percent of PLBTA members surveyed had fewer delivery date options and nearly 20 percent had experienced delayed delivery of malt beverages from distributors. And more than one out of three members had run out of certain malt beverages and had to wait for a resupply.

We believe in light of recent developments this has gotten worse and is untenable.

As the Association that represents small business taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants across the state, I am writing to you to ask your committee to consider legislation that provides reasonable business solutions to this growing problem so that family-owned establishments have reliable options available to meet their unique needs when wholesale beer distributors fail to deliver in a timely manner.

Sincerely,
Chuck Moran

By in Latest News Comments Off on Taverns Education: Importance of Security Video

Taverns Education: Importance of Security Video

By Glen Norton
Senior Loss Control Representative
Illinois Casualty Company

A picture can tell a thousand words. If that is the case, then how many words does a video tell? An important tool for business to have is a security video system. In this article we will dive into why security video is important and why just having a video system is not enough.

As a Loss Control Representative, I check for security video systems at each location I visit. During my meeting with the insured I go over their security video system or lack thereof. A business owner may have cameras in place to monitor employees and protect themselves against employee dishonesty. It is not uncommon to find a business that has one camera, and that camera is typically pointing down towards the cash register. While it is great that they have a camera in place directly over the cash register, there are many more reasons to have cameras spread throughout the business and premise. In discussions with the insured I like to explain that having cameras spread out to cover the building inside and out from multiple angles not only may protect them against employee dishonesty but from an array of potential claims and lawsuits.

A security video system may catch on video what actually happened in the event of an incident. A small sample of what can be caught on video includes:

  • Slip and falls – Did the claimant actually slip and fall? What did they slip and fall on? Was something noticeable on the floor?
  • Altercations – Who threw the first punch? What lead up to the fight?
  • Employee actions – Rarely does the claimant’s description of the events match what actually happened.
  • Dram shop liability involving an allegedly intoxicated person (AIP) – Did the insured serve the AIP? How many drinks were served to the AIP? Was the AIP showing any signs of intoxication on the video?
  • How quickly an employee responded – Were the employee’s actions reasonable given the specific situation?

Having a security video system is important however it does not stop there. When I find out the business has a system in place, I do not just check a box and move on. A business can have the most state-of-the-art security video system on the market but if no one in the business knows how to operate the system then it is useless. The basic follow up question to having a security video system is “In the event of an incident do you know how to pull / save the video?” Typically, I will find out yes, they know how to do that or they “have a person” that does. During the walk through we also look for a system monitor. The monitor will show what areas the video is capturing, and if the system is generally operational.

There is a huge market for security video systems. The types of systems vary greatly. Older systems may record in black and white to a VHS tape that is recorded over daily. Average systems keep video on a DVR for 7-14 days. Newer and more advanced systems can save video to the “Cloud” or may have 1TB hard drive that can save continuous video for more than 30 days. The true value of the video security is having it available at the time a claim is presented. A claim may be presented up to two years following an incident and up to five years after in some jurisdictions. It is vital to save important recorded incidents to have them available when a claim is presented.

When Loss Control asks the insured if they have a security video system, the quick response is often “yes.” Having a video security system is not in itself enough to assist in the defense of accidents and claims. Specific knowledge on how to retain the video evidence is the key.

 

Illinois Casualty Company is the exclusive preferred vendor of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association. The Association encourages tavern, bar, licensed restaurants, and clubs to consider ICC for your business insurances. Coverage options include liquor liability, property, general liability, umbrella, and workers compensation. Qualifying Members can save up to 10% on their businessowners and liquor liability insurance. To find out more about our insurance programs and to locate an agent in your area, visit www.ilcasco.com/insurance-programs.

 

This story was originally published in the ICC Quarterly, 1Q 2022. It was republished in the June 2022 edition of Pennsylvania Beverage Media with permission. Pennsylvania Beverage Media is a benefit of Membership in the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association. If you’re not a Member, please consider joining today by clicking here or consider making a donation to support our Association by clicking here.

By in Latest News Comments Off on Statement: SB 1212 moves, balances sound regulations for liquor licencees

Statement: SB 1212 moves, balances sound regulations for liquor licencees

The following is a statement from Chuck Moran, executive director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association, concerning today’s action in the Pennsylvania Senate Law & Justice Committee moving SB 1212. The PLBTA, based in Harrisburg, is the statewide political voice for small business taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants.

 

Today, the Pennsylvania Senate Law & Justice Committee moved SB 1212, a bill that would balance sound regulations for all liquor licensees while also addressing increased demand for outdoor dining and entertainment in light of continued COVID-19 illnesses. There was no opposition to the bill in the committee.

For the past two years, Pennsylvanians have put greater demand on outdoor activities including dining and entertainment. Unfortunately, for non-winery licensees, offering outdoor activities is problematic due to state laws that do not allow these licensees to have any sound on their property line.

In other words, if a pin drop can be heard on their property line, they can be cited and fined. According to National Hearing Conservation Association, normal conversation is between 60 and 70 decibels.

This type of outdated liquor code thus has hampered opportunities for many tavern, bar, and licensed restaurants owners wanting to offer outdoor dining and entertainment but fearing the consequences of having the slightest level of sound on their property line.

SB 1212, sponsored by Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill of York County, would allow all liquor licensees the same reasonable amount of sound on their property line. As the bill is written today, licensees would be permitted up to 75 decibels on their property line from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

Depending upon the size of the establishment’s property, being allowed to have up to 75 decibels on their property line would likely allow many establishments to offer outdoor dining with lower levels of music being played such as acoustic guitars.

During the committee hearing, Sen. Regan offered an amendment to allow the law once passed to become effective immediately. The committee agreed.

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association has been stating throughout the pandemic that this type of reasonable change is much needed to help better accommodate those concerned about COVID. But, even before the pandemic, our Association had advocated for this change simply to be fair to all liquor licensees. This has been one of our legislative priorities set by our Board of Directors.

The PLBTA thanks, Sen. Michael Regan and the members of the Senate Law & Justice Committee for moving SB 1212. And, our Association thanks Sen. Phillips-Hill for her understanding of this issue and her sponsorship of the bill.

We encourage the Senate to move this bill in a timely manner, and to pass it as is without amendments.

 

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By in Latest News Comments Off on Pennsylvania’s official summer adult drink declared by state taverns

Pennsylvania’s official summer adult drink declared by state taverns

Will raise funds for rare childhood diseases

Pennsylvania’s official summer adult drink for 2022 has been declared by a statewide trade association representing the bar industry, adding it will benefit the mission of Uplifting Athletes, a non-profit that raises awareness and research funds for rare childhood diseases.

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association (PLBTA), on behalf of the state’s taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants, has declared the Official Pennsylvania Adult Summer Drink for 2022 will be the Holla Sweetfire Jalapeno Bloody Mary. Holla Spirits, a Pennsylvania-based distillery in York, joins the effort and will donate 10% of sales of its Sweetfire Jalapeno brand from June through August to Uplifting Athletes.

Additional funds are being raised through sponsorships that allow a business to attach their name or logo to promotional items featuring the drink.

Uplifting Athletes, a nonprofit organization founded in 2007, harnesses the power of sport to build a community that invests in the lives of people impacted by rare diseases. Since 2007, Uplifting Athletes has raised more than $7 Million dollars by engaging athletes in order to positively impact the rare disease community through research and driving action. To learn more about Uplifting Athletes visit www.upliftingathletes.org.

“We are thrilled to be working with Holla Spirits and the PLBTA throughout the summer to bring awareness and drive action for people impacted by rare diseases,” said Rob Long, executive director of Uplifting Athletes.

Holla Spirits founder Patrick Shorb says the idea of an official summer drink for Pennsylvania to benefit a worthy cause makes sense. “We’re excited about this declaration from the state’s taverns, and very happy to see it will benefit research into rare childhood diseases.”

“It’s only natural that Pennsylvania has an official summer adult drink declared by our association,” said Chuck Moran, executive director for the PLBTA. “It’s great we can tie it into a way to help raise funds for Uplifting Athletes too.”

Starting June 1, Moran says patrons should ask their bartender for the Official Pennsylvania Summer Adult Drink of 2022 – The Holla Sweetfire Jalapeno Bloody Mary – when they’re out with friends and family at Pennsylvania establishments. Holla Spirits is an active associate member of the PLBTA.

According to Shorb, the recipe for the drink will be available at www.HollaSpirits.com for those who wish to enjoy the drink at their homes.

 

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Who is Uplifting Athletes

Uplifting Athletes, a 501(c) non-profit, was started at Penn State University after an athlete recognized the struggles a teammate and his family had as a result of a rare disease.

Damon Jones, a member of the Penn State football team, learned of the challenges that teammate Scott Shirley’s family was enduring when Scott’s father, Don Shirley, was diagnosed with a rare disease in 2002. Damon suggested that they do something since they were in a position to shine their spotlight on those who needed a voice.

The Penn State football team rallied around the idea of leveraging a summer strength and conditioning competition into a fundraising event called Lift For Life by opening it up to their fans and the media. They soon realized that the benefits of this new organization were far greater than they had imagined.

Since Day 1, Uplifting Athletes has focused on using the platform of college football to shine a spotlight on the rare disease cause while providing student-athletes a valuable leadership experience as well.

Today, Uplifting Athletes has chapters across the country. All fundraisers associated with Uplifting Athletes fuels its four charitable programs: Rare Disease Awareness, Rare Disease Research, Uplifting Experiences, and Uplifting Leaders.

Many involved with Uplifting Athletes are former NFL-bound players who had the misfortune of being diagnosed with a disease that ended their career before it even started.

Since its inception, Uplifting Athletes has raised more than $7 million to support its charitable mission.

You can learn more about Uplifting Athletes by visiting this link … https://www.upliftingathletes.org/

By in Latest News Comments Off on Can a customer return an unopened bottle to your bar?

Can a customer return an unopened bottle to your bar?

So, you sell six-packs to go? Have you ever had a customer try to return what they purchased? Can they?

Well, recently Tops Market, holder of an “R” license in Warren, Pa., asked the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board for their thoughts on the matter. Here’s what the PLCB said in an advisory opinion.

According to the PLCB, while the holder of an R license is permitted to sell malt or brewed beverages in any amount not in excess of 192 fluid ounces in a single sale to be carried off premises, “there is nothing in the liquor code that allows the return or exchange of malt or brewed beverages purchased from a retail licensee for off-premises consumption.”

The PLCB recommended that the licensee contact the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Alcohol, Tobacco, Tax & Trade Bureau to determine under whether and under what circumstances malt or brewed beverage returns are permissible under federal law.

Furthermore, the PLCB points out that it is unlawful for any licensee to offer, pay, make or allow, or for any licensee to solicit or receive any allowance or rebate, refunds, or concessions in the form of money or otherwise, to induce directly the purchase of liquor or malt or brewed beverages.

However, historically the PLCB has allowed for an exception for a refund policy associated with a product satisfaction guarantee program.

So, put in more simpler terms, as far as the PLCB is concerned, beer returns may only be accepted if the customer is not satisfied with the product.

By in Latest News Comments Off on PaTaverns, licensed PaRestaurants on Philadelphia unmasking again

PaTaverns, licensed PaRestaurants on Philadelphia unmasking again

The following is a statement concerning an anticipated announcement on April 22 that Philadelphia is removing the reinstated mandatory mask mandate. It comes from Chuck Moran, executive director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association. The PLBTA, based in Harrisburg, is the statewide political voice for small business taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants.

(April 21, 2022) Multiple news reports on Thursday night indicated the City of Philadelphia will end its recently reinstated mask mandate for indoor locations such as taverns, bars, clubs, and licensed restaurants. The announcement is anticipated to be officially made Friday morning, and comes after an apparent vote by the city’s Board of Health.

I’m sure Members of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association will be thankful. Such mandates often put bartenders, servers, and managers in a position of being the mask police, something that they’re not really trained to do. Ask hospitality staffers what it was like enforcing city mandates, and I’m sure many can share stories about patrons who simply did not want to comply. Some may even be able to share situations that felt threatening.

But, while they’ll be thankful, they’ll also be asking questions. What happened between Monday, when the mandate was reinstated, and Thursday night? Was the reinstatement really necessary? If there wasn’t enough confusion this week on masking, the sudden change of mind is likely to have people scratching their heads, wondering about the reliability of formulas used to make the initial reinstatement decision.

Philadelphia’s family-owned taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants have been through way too much during the past two years. They deserve better than what city officials did to them on Monday, only to quickly walk back that decision.

 

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By in Latest News Comments Off on Are mobile bars legal in Pennsylvania?

Are mobile bars legal in Pennsylvania?

Have you ever wondered if mobile bars are legal in Pennsylvania? Well, we have the answer for you, directly from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

Recently, a licensee in Johnstown asked if his establishment could convert a horse trailer into a mobile bar, and then use that mobile bar with its current “R” license at different locations that are not on its licensed premise.

An Advisory Opinion from the PLCB on March 28, 2022, suggests it’s possible, but you better know how to do it right.

According to the PLCB, there is no license that allows a licensee to sell alcohol in a mobile bar or similar unfixed location. Licenses are generally issued only for use at specific, identified, stationary locations.

However, there are two ways for an “R” licensee to take advantage of a mobile bar, the PLCB says.

First, nothing would generally prohibit the use of a mobile bar by a licensee to sell alcohol on its licensed premises. So if you have a big licensed property, you may be in luck if you want to try a mobile bar.

Second, nothing would prohibit the use of a mobile bar by the holder of a special occasion permit or an off-premises catering permit, so long as the mobile bar remains on the property that is covered by the permit.

To learn more about a special occasion permit or an off-premises catering permit, click here.

 

This educational licensee update is brought to you by the PLBTA and is funded by annual Member dues. We are making this specific piece available to all licensees as an industry courtesy, and hope that non-members will join our Association and be a part of Organized Taverns. To join online, click here.

By in Latest News Comments Off on PaTaverns Statement: Tavern Gaming Impact on Pennsylvania State Lottery Report

PaTaverns Statement: Tavern Gaming Impact on Pennsylvania State Lottery Report

By Igor Ovsyannykov [CC0 or CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

The following is a statement from Chuck Moran, executive director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association, concerning the 2022 annual report on the impact of tavern gaming on the Pennsylvania State Lottery. The PLBTA, based in Harrisburg, is the statewide political voice for small business taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants.

 

As required by Act 90 of 2013, “The Impact of Tavern Gaming on the Pennsylvania State Lottery” annual report was presented to the State Legislative Budget and Finance Committee today.

Overall, the report is a clear sign that the tavern gaming business model is broken, and not meeting the needs of both the state and tavern owners. Consider the following highlights from the report:

  • There are currently only 45 active tavern gaming licenses statewide, a decrease from the previous year.
  • Since 2013, only 80 establishments have applied for a tavern gaming license with 71 approved.
  • Tavern Games revenue has dropped in the last four years from $1.6 million in 2018 to $1.3 million in 2021 with a low of $856k in 2020.

When tavern gaming was debated prior to Act 90, the Governor’s Office of the Budget estimated that 2,000 establishments would be licensed, generating an estimated annual net revenue of $156 million. The actual statistics are far less than what was anticipated.

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association on several occasions in the past four years have indicated in front of legislative committees or through the media that changes to the tavern gaming business model are needed. The limited number of games, expensive fee and tax structure, and little profit made by establishments make it unattractive for the overwhelming majority of small business taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants.

Furthermore, although there was a fear in 2013 that it would negatively impact the Pennsylvania State Lottery, the report’s analyst told the state committee today that “tavern gaming did not have a material impact” on the state lottery. In fact, during the last five years, total revenue from tavern gaming was $6.6 million compared to the Pennsylvania State Lottery’s $8.2 billion in revenue.

As we have said in the past and will continue to do so in the future, if the state wants to see better results and collect more money for its general fund, then tavern gaming must be overhauled and made more attractive to establishments.

 

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