The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

November 2, 2013

Clubs bet against expanding games

Business owners say clientele different

- — The state is the only sure winner in a proposal to expand small games of chance from private clubs into public bars and taverns.

The games, which include popular “pull-tab” tickets sold at most veterans and ethnic clubs, are a reliable source of revenue for the clubs that ultimately benefits community groups the organizations support, according to Tom Hanzes, president of the Pennsylvania Federation of Clubs and Fraternal Organizations.

Hanzes, who lives in Pymatuning Township and serves as quartermaster of Reynolds Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7599, heads the organization that represents 450 clubs across the state, including 39 in Mercer County.

“We have our hands full,” Hanzes said this week, as he prepares for what may happen when the General Assembly reconvenes.

The Senate passed the legislation that would expand the games into bars and “if they have the votes,” the House of Representatives may vote on the bill Nov. 12 or 13, Hanzes said.

“I have grave concerns,” he said of the law, which could cripple already struggling social, ethnic and veterans clubs that dominate the landscape in the Rust Belt of western Pennsylvania.

“We have so many smaller clubs, they’re having a tough time to exist,” Hanzes said.

Bar owners see it differently.

“I think it’s about time,” Ron Dubrasky, who owns the Golden Bear Tavern in West Middlesex said. “I think we should all be on an even playing field.”

Dubrasky said he didn’t think the move would change the business at private clubs, because they serve a different clientele.

“It’s not going to hurt their business at all,” he said. “They’re (club members) still going to stay there,” he said.

But VFW and American Legion post leaders are lamenting the possibility the change will hurt their business.

“We’re quite concerned about it for the future,” said Robert Renner, commander of Wheatland American Legion Post 432.

The tickets are a “good money maker” for the club, Renner said.

There’s also a lot of precise clerical work required of those selling the tickets that bar owners may not be aware of, Renner said.

They’re also not quite the cash cow the Commonwealth may be counting on.

About 4,000 ticket sales each week net the post about $80, Renner said.

It might not hurt the clubs as much as they fear, said Bill Shepherd, a social member of Sharpsville VFW Post 6404.

Shepherd regularly plays the games and said the people who’d most benefit from expanding them into the bar world would be the employees of the taverns because of increased tips from lucky winners.

It wouldn’t cause him to stop frequenting the Sharpsville club, however.

“I actually like the atmosphere here,” Shepherd said. “It’s a more tight-knit crowd.”

Playing the tickets is more of a game than a money maker, he said.

“It’s a break-even” game, he said. “Sometimes you lose, sometimes you win. It’s truly the luck of the draw.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Community thanks its first-responders

    Sharpsville honored its emergency responders Sunday at an event that included Mertz Towers residents as special guests.

    July 28, 2014

  • Drilling boom challenges state inspectors

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the last century.

    July 28, 2014

  • Kidds Mill Covered Bridge A span of time

    Four generations of the Cadman family have enjoyed the Kidds Mill Covered Bridge, which is in Pymatuning Township near where the family’s ancestral farm is located.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • Intruder hurts woman, takes $5

    A home invasion in Hermitage Friday night sent an elderly woman to the hospital and netted the robber $5.

    July 27, 2014

  • national night out March against crime set for Aug. 5

    At the last Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Commission meeting, Chief Riley Smoot Jr. presented the number of incidents for each of the four communities in May.

    Farrell topped out at 819.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • high street trail Peaceful pathways

    History buffs and picnickers in the Shenango Valley won’t have to drive to Sharpsville to hang out at the old Erie Canal extension lock. They’ll soon have the option to walk or roll in on bicycles and even powered chairs to visit Canal Park near the outflow of Shenango Dam.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • balloonquest1 Balloon Quest celebrates 25 years

    Today is the final day of the 25th annual Western Pennsylvania Balloon Quest at Scotland Meadows Park.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • News briefs from July 26, 2014

    Man faces bomb threat charges

    June building tops $4 million in Hermitage

    July 26, 2014

  • Elderly man survives plane crash

    An elderly man survived wrecking his plane into a bank, then landing into a wetland, about 200 feet south of Runway 28 at Grove City Regional Airport in Springfield Township on Friday.

    July 26, 2014

  • Dontae Rashad Pinkins Man arrested for April gunfight

    Federal marshals and local police arrested Dontae Rashad Pinkins Thursday on a warrant accusing him of involvement in an April gunfight with another man in a Sharon alley.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hearing changed in starving case

    The time and place for the preliminary hearing of a Greenville mom accused of starving and beating her 7-year-old young son has been changed.

    July 26, 2014

  • Schell working on mural Drawn to Mexico

    Jason Schell probably is not exaggerating when he says that millions of people have seen his art.

    July 26, 2014 4 Photos

  • Farrell man, 24, arrested on warrant in connection with April shooting

    Federal marshals and local police arrested Dontae Rashad Pinkins Thursday on a warrant accusing him of involvement in an April shootout in Sharon.


    Pinkins, 24, of Farrell, is in Mercer County Jail after failing to post bond on gun charges.

    Additional details to follow.
     

    July 25, 2014

  • Firm will study timing of traffic signals

    Hermitage commissioners on Wednesday hired Whitman, Requardt and Associates LLP to study the timing scheme of traffic signals along parts of Hermitage Road and East State Street.

    July 25, 2014

  • 3 area fire depts. awarded grants

    Three area fire departments will share in more than $590,000 in grants meant to help Pennsylvania’s rural communities guard against the threat of fires in forests and other undeveloped areas, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Ellen Ferretti announced.

    July 25, 2014