Last week, the Gaming Control Board approved regulations for “casino credit.” Now patrons can effectively take out a loan of credit to play table games and slots, with no legal cap established. The casinos are to have access to some of the applicant’s financial information, such as bank accounts and credit information; and are also cross-checked against Central Credit, an international database. Applicants can be approved within hours, and can even apply ahead, so their credit is available for pick-up upon arrival at the casino. Casinos are responsible to collect the debt if patrons fail to pay back the credit.
Offering credit is supposed to attract high spending players, who often spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, or more, during their visit. In Atlantic City, one player walked away $10 million dollars poorer after using credit lines. However, some question Pennsylvania’s ability to attract high rollers. Pennsylvania’s casinos are not located very near each other, so players cannot easily switch venues. Also, Pennsylvania has a higher tax on table games (16%) than do Atlantic City and Las Vegas. This may hinder PA casinos’ ability to offer free perks (i.e. airfare, limo rides) to attract high spenders.
The Morning Call has a pretty good article about the new casino credit. With, or without, casino credit, table games will not offer predictable tax revenue.