Table Games a Hit in Pa.

Some gamblers vowing to never set foot in AC again

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Atlantic City may have another thing to worry about as table games come into Pennsylvania like a lion. (Published Monday, Jul 19, 2010)

    The dice are rolling, the wheels spinning and the big bets -- are being placed.

    Since their debut Sunday morning, the poker pits and other table games at the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, Pa.have been packed.

    "Look at all these people! I’ve been here four hours and I can’t even find a table," said one man.

    Sunday’s rollout was part of a trio of table game openings in Pennsylvania including Harrah's Chester and Parx in Bensalem, Pa. Each casino reported a boost in business and already began to threaten Atlantic City’s fortunes.

    "I'll never go back to Atlantic City after coming here, I can tell you that," Bob Toby said.

    This is Toby's first time at the sands. Like many, the high-stakes blackjack player is happy he no longer has to trek it to Atlantic City when he gets the itch for some action.

    "It only took me from my house 50 minutes," Toby said. "When I go to Atlantic City and takes me 2 1/2 hours."

    Kathy Butchko agrees. "This beats driving 3 hours and 15 minutes to A.C.," she said.

    Butchko usually prefers playing slots at the trump plaza. But today, she’s been waiting an hour for a seat to take her first shot at roulette.

    She's willing to wait "as long as it takes."

    "I live just 8 minutes away. I could walk home if I have to," Butchko said.

    Even casino president Robert DeSalvio didn’t anticipate this kind of turnout.

    "Its hard to judge," said DeSalvio. "We've got 89 tables total and we can't open them all, all day long so we try to judge it. I actually could've used some more."
     
    While players have been waiting years for table games to open up in Pennsylvania, not everyone is finding the wait worth it.

    "I prefer A.C. This doesn’t have the ambiance of A.C. I still like A.C.," one man said.