[toc]Montgomery County officials were quite happy this past week. Due to changes included in the new gambling laws in Pennsylvania, they’ll be taking home a cool $1.7 million a year from Valley Forge Casino’s gambling revenue.
The windfall came about because of changes in the original gambling laws that only allowed hotel guests and a few others to gamble at Valley Forge. The new law expands who can gamble at Valley Forge. It is a move that increases revenue, a revenue from which Montgomery County will benefit.
More from local paper The Intelligencer:
“(The passage of Act 42) loosens the rules governing foot traffic at Valley Forge Casino Resort in Upper Merion, which previously allowed only hotel guests, members and patrons of other parts of the resort on the casino floor. The resort also allows Valley Forge to add up to 250 slot machines, 15 poker tables, and apply for online gaming and sports betting licenses.”
The chance to expand gaming and foot traffic is the second big win of the year for Valley Forge, who earlier this year completed a $6 million renovation project that focused on the property’s Casino Tower.
Where the funds will go
According to The Intelligencer, 75 percent of the revenue earned from Valley Forge will but put toward “parks, historic sties and hiking trails.” The rest of the cash will go to local nonprofits.
What’s essentially happening here is that Valley Forge is getting the chance to increase their revenue through more foot traffic and more slots. As a result, Montgomery County gets funds straightaway instead of having to apply for them under the laws passed when casino gaming was first legalized in the state.
The payments to the county will begin in 2018.
Montgomery County votes against VGT’s
We don’t consider it coincidence that Montgomery County officials voted against allowing video gambling terminals in the county’s truck stops. A provision included in the gambling law allowed counties to opt out of the new gambling format.
It would simply not look good for Montgomery County to sign a deal to earn $1.7 million a year from Valley Forge if they also voted to allow gambling terminals that would, at least from an optics perspective, pull gamblers away from their brick-and-mortar casino.
Here’s what Montgomery County Commissioner Dr. Val Arkoosh told Philly Voice as to why he and his fellow commissioners opted out of VGT’s:
“We unanimously passed the resolution banning video gaming terminals from the county because we did not want to invite competition for Valley Forge Casino, which employs about 1,000 people, especially competition from these machines, which would not create any jobs in Montgomery County.”
PGCB official opt-out list should expand soon
In order to opt out, the county had to follow specific procedures laid out by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). At the time of publishing, the PGCB’s list of opt-out counties stood at zero; it’s last update was Nov. 13.
That figure is sure to change this week, assuming the counties who don’t want VGT’s filed the paperwork in time. Aside from Montgomery, we know that Kennett Township said they will opt out, too.