In July, 2010, Gaming Control Board established a series of controls and guidelines before the introduction of table games at Pennsylvania casinos. Game rules were made effective for only two years and must be reviewed once the term is complete.
Gaming Control Board also launched a 30-day public comment period to give players the chance to speak out in favor of the current rules and support a proposal to make them permanent. For gaming experts, Pennsylvania’s player-friendly rules make casinos far more attractive than other gaming facilities in neighboring states, especially Atlantic City.
Some of the blackjack rules the Board wants to make permanent include:
Blackjacks are paid off at 3-to-2 ($15 for a $10 bet) instead of 6-to-5, or $12 for each $10 bet.
Dealer must stand on soft 17 (for example, a hand of A-6).
Players may double down on any two cards (some sites limit doubling to hands totaling 9, 10 or 11).
Doubling after splitting pairs is allowed.
Late surrender is allowed (giving up half your bet after the dealer checks the hole card for a blackjack)
Pairs may be split to a maximum of three hands; aces may not be re-split.
“The board believes that the fundamental rules of play in blackjack, including optional surrender and the requirement that dealers stand on a soft 17, achieves a fair and appropriate balance between the revenue generated for the certificate holders, and derivatively to the Commonwealth, and the fairness to patrons,” states the Gaming Control Board.
The Pennsylvania board’s proposal must pass through long process that includes a public-comment period, and a special review by an Independent Regulatory Review Commission. Then, the Gaming Control Board will have the chance to respond to all comments before submitting a final version of the regulations.
“We like the rules as we set them out” added Gaming Control Board Executive Director Kevin O’Toole.