When It Comes To Satellite Casinos, Some PA Towns Want To Opt Out

Written By J.R. Duren on November 13, 2017

[toc]Not everyone is a fan of the satellite casino provision in the recently passed Pennsylvania gambling expansion bill.

This week, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) launched a web page listing townships who’ve opted out of the chance to be a host site for a satellite casino. PGCB spokesperson Doug Harbach told The Morning Call and other reporters that one township had expressed their intention to opt out.

“Starting Monday, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will begin publishing an opt-out list on its website. So far, Harbach said, only the Kennett Township, Chester County, supervisors had informed the agency that they had voted to ban mini-casinos.”

Grumblings coming from other corners of PA

So far Kennett is the only municipality to let the PGCB know in an official capacity that they’ll opt out. However, the Morning Call reports that they aren’t alone in their intention to opt out.

One excellent example of that is Macungie Borough. The Lehigh Valley town so small its council vice president suggested the only space for a satellite casino would be somebody’s backyard.

“Where would they put a casino?” council VP Roseanne Schleicher asked. “Whose yard would they put it in? We have no land left to develop, so that’s your answer right there.”

A quick look at Macungie’s census numbers indicate that around 3,100 people live in the borough. It certainly seems like an unwelcome intrusion to fill up a town with slots enthusiasts and card players.

On the other hand, though, revenue from the casinos would be, in part, placed in local governments, public schools and economic/civic development projects, GoErie.com reported this past month.

Satellites: Where they’ll go and what they’ll do

As part of the law’s regulations, the PGCB can award up to 10 licenses for satellite casinos. These mini-casinos can house up to 750 slot machines and up to 40 table games.

To protect existing casinos from cannibalization, satellite casinos must be at least 25 miles away  from their larger counterparts.

Part of the money that’s earned in revenue from these satellites will be put toward struggling Pennsylvania casinos, but that’s not enough for Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, the racino located just outside Harrisburg.

Hollywood execs told local news station ABC 27 that satellites could pull patrons away from their race track. Fewer patrons means lower race purses, something the gambling bill doesn’t compensate, Hollywood Casino’s marketing VP was reported as saying.

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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren is a freelance writer and author, and has won the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism award three times. He contributes to numerous publications, including Snooth, the Villages Daily Sun, Bespoke Post, and Barcelona Metropolitan.

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