A recently passed legislation in Pennsylvania paves the way for the expansion of the state’s gambling by allowing up to 10 new casinos to be established within its jurisdiction. However, this endeavor has not been welcomed by some of Pennsylvania’s municipalities in the Centre County who are not for the idea of having a casino business operating in the area.
Just a couple of months ago on October 30th, Democrat Governor Tom Wolf signed House Bill 271 into law – the law which backed by the concurring General Assembly authorized gambling expansion opportunities in every part of Pennsylvania. This expansion would, for instance, create up to 10 category 4 slot machine licenses in addition to Pennsylvania’s 12 currently operational commercial casinos. About 300 to 700 slot machines and 50 table games can be operated by each of the Category 4 casinos though, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, none of these casinos can be operated within 25 miles of the state’s existing Category 1, 2 or 3 casinos. The only exception would be in the case of an operator opening a category 4 casino that is within 25 linear miles of its own Category 1, 2 or 3 facility.
As it stands, the municipalities have the power to either prohibit or even opt out of a casino that is located within its borders. To do this, the municipality’s governing body is required to send a resolution to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board before the 1st of January. A number of Centre County municipalities have already sent resolutions to prohibit the establishment of a casino.
The move by the municipalities is mostly driven by the long-term implications of gambling – the town’s residents believe that the casino would be a bad idea since most of the money that will be gambled and eventually lost will come from the town’s ordinary occupants. On the same note, they also did not see any benefits coming to the town as the mini-casinos would not be offering any ‘high-profile’ jobs to the county’s residents.
Any municipality that prohibits the location of a casino within its borders is allowed to revoke the prohibition, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board – however, upon revoking the prohibition, the municipality loses the right to prohibit the location of the casino again.