[toc]The third time will not be the charm for David LeVan. The Pennsylvania business owner called off his third attempt to open a casino in the Gettysburg, PA area. LeVan previously attempted to bring a casino to Gettysburg in 2005 and 2010.
LeVan did not apply for a PA casino license
Currently there is one casino license available in Pennsylvania as well as 12 existing Pennsylvania casinos. The deadline to apply for the casino license was June 14. Shortly before the due date, LeVan announced he would not be seeking the license after all.
In March LeVan announced he would be seeking the license for a racino project he called Mason-Dixon Downs. The remaining license is specifically for a harness racing track. With that in mind, LeVan developed a project near Gettysburg National Military Park. He cemented a deal to buy 700 acres of land less than four miles from the park.
The proximity to the Civil War memorial is always a point of contention for LeVan. Many want a buffer zone of ten miles between Gettysburg and the nearest casino.
LeVan, who owns and operates a Harley-Davidson dealership in the area, thinks the casino could boost tourism and bring in important tax revenue to the area.
LeVan dropped idea given gambling expansion uncertainty
In his announcement he is dropping his push for a casino, LeVan did not cite resistance from the anti-Gettysburg casino groups as a key reason. Rather, he said the decision had more to do with uncertainty about online gambling in Pennsylvania.
Lawmakers in Harrisburg are currently debating a massive gambling expansion bill which would bring both online casinos and 40,000 video gambling terminals (VGTs) to the state. Thanks to partnerships with online casino providers, many casinos in the state can immediately offer iGaming.
LeVan would be at a distinct disadvantage if the legislation passed. While major casinos claimed market share online, his property would just be breaking ground. LeVan is unwilling to take that risk, so he called off the project.
Even though he is giving up on the project for a third time, LeVan still believes in the concept. He released a statement about his decision:
“I continue to believe that a gaming project would be tremendous for the local Adams County economy, create thousands of jobs, and provide desperately needed funding for countless municipal and community projects… I regret not being able to help my hometown achieve the unquestioned economic benefits gaming would provide at a time when jobs are scarce.”
LeVan was the only person publicly pursuing the remaining casino license. Given the risks he cited, it is not unsurprising if no one applied to obtain the license this year.