Update: The state's Liquor Control Board approved the small games of chance license for Midway Tavern on Wednesday morning, said Stacy Kreideman, director of the board's external affairs.
Originally reported: An Adams County bar is poised to be the first in the state to receive a small games of chance for taverns license.
"It's exciting for us," said Rhonda Zeigler, who co-owns the Midway Tavern in Conewago Township with her husband. "We didn't expect the vote to be this quick."
The state's Liquor Control Board is expected to vote during its meeting Wednesday to grant a license to the 317 Third St. bar.
And a license could be coming to a York County bar in the near future.
Zeigler and her husband, Barry, also applied for a licence for a second bar they own, the Franklin House Tavern, 300 N. Franklin St. in Hanover.
As of mid-February, four other taverns in the state had applied for licenses, far fewer than the thousands state officials expected, according to The Associated Press. A call to the liquor control board to find out the locations of the other bars was not returned Tuesday.
Small games: Under the small games of chance law, thousands of bars and taverns can seek licenses to conduct pull-tab games, daily drawings and tavern raffles.
Revenue will be split three ways, with 60 percent going to the state, 5 percent to the municipality in which a bar is located and the rest kept by bar owners.
"We do not intend to get rich on it," Zeigler said.
Unlike their social club counterparts that offer small games, taverns aren't required to donate any of the revenue to charities.
Costs: There's also an up-front cost to taverns applying for a license.
Applicants have to pay a combined $2,000 for an application fee and a background check and an additional $2,000 for the license. It's an additional $1,000 to renew a license annually, according to the liquor control board.
A pull-tab dispensing machine costs at least $2,500, Zeigler said.
Calling the cost an "investment," Zeigler said she and her husband applied for licenses for both of their businesses in early February, the earliest they were allowed to apply. Approval for the Franklin House Tavern is pending.
Even if the license for the Midway is granted, it may be some time before games can be offered, she said, adding they have to figure out accounting aspects.
"We have to get our ducks in a row first," Zeigler said.
Longtime supporter: But the chance to offer legalized gambling was a longtime coming.
As a member of the York County Restaurant and Tavern Association and the Pennsylvania Tavern Association, Barry Zeigler lobbied for expanding small games of chance since it was introduced in social clubs in the late 1980s.
"My husband has supported this and lobbied for this," Rhonda Zeigler said. "It get this is very gratifying."
— Reach Greg Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org.