No Interest in Final Gaming License on offer in Pennsylvania

by Jim Hall

Only one developer seems interested in the final horse track and casino license available in Pennsylvania.

The state of Pennsylvania quickly became the second most successful state in the US when it comes to gambling, once they began to offer land based casinos within their borders. Second to Nevada, Pennsylvania is a top source for all things gambling, easily surpassing New Jersey for the second spot in United States gambling. The state offers 12 casinos so far and is currently working to add more gambling options including online casino gaming. As far as land based venues are concerned, the state still has one horse track and casino license to give out, though only one developer seems to be interested so far.

Gettysburg Efforts

Only one developer has announced to the public their interest in being licensed for horse track and casino gaming in the state. A businessman of Adams County has come forward with a proposal for a facility to be located near Gettysburg which has come under fire due to the history of the area. Conservationists in the area as well as those who love history are not happy with the potential for a gaming venue to be located near the history site of Gettysburg.

A petition was started to try and thwart efforts and has already garnered 7,000 signatures. The plans are even being fought by the National Parks Conservation Association of Washington D.C. A statement on the matter was posted on the group’s website which points out that the site is visited by families, school groups and other visitors, proving to be an enduring part of the community. A horse race track and casino would change the treasured place, according to the National Park.

Not a Problem

David LevanAccording to the developer, David Levan, the plans are not a problem for Gettysburg. When speaking to the Daily Item, Levan stated that his plan would see the horse track and casino located further from the battlefield site than other casinos of the state that are located near historic sites such as the Valley Forge National Park. The facility would be over three miles from the park once constructed.

According to No Casino Gettysburg’s James Paddock, this is still too close. The facility would be located on a road that leads to the battlefield where the battles took place, including such areas as Pickett’s Charge.

Levan has tried several times to be given approval for casino licensing in the area of Gettysburg. Earlier plans were much closer to the area. Advocates believe there should be a ten mile buffer between the two and reportedly this most recent proposal is within this range. Paddack is fearful that with a casino nearby, visitors would be deterred from seeing Gettysburg due to wanting a small town feel and unspoiled picture of the area.

According to Levan, the tourism industry of the area is already suffering and he feels that the opinions of his critics are overblown, such as those who criticized plans for other casinos that are now up and running. According to Levan, a period of time has been provided so that the gaming industry could be watched. Any concerns about crime, traffic and water have not happened and local communities have been able to benefit from new jobs, grant money and local businesses thriving.

For now, it seems Levan has an uphill battle when it comes to seeing his plan come to fruition in the Gettysburg area. Earlier this year, the Horse Racing Commission of the state began to seek new applicants for licensing and applications have to be turned in by June. So far, no developers have applied so now we wait and see if Levan is the only interested party and if his plans will ultimately be approved.