As the state of Pennsylvania now opens up to new gaming options, yet another city decides to ban satellite casinos, this time adding in video gaming terminals.
Just a few weeks ago, Legislature in Pennsylvania voted to approve a gaming expansion package for the state. Within this expansion package are several ways in which the industry will grow. Video gaming terminals can now be added to bars while up to ten satellite casinos can be constructed in towns that are located at least 25 miles from existing casinos already in operation. With the announcement of these expansions, local governments were given the opportunity to vote on whether or not they want to be involved. As of now, more than 400 municipalities have decided not to become involved. Philadelphia now joins the list after a recent city counsel vote.
Philadelphia Says NO
Twelve members of the Philadelphia City Counsel decided to cosponsor legislation to ban satellite casinos and video gaming terminals from bars, with five additional members voting no alongside the legislation creators. The city will not be awarding VGT licensing to truck stops in the region nor allowing the category 4 casino licenses to be approved for mini casino gaming.
With the recent state legislation changes, truck stops are now allowed to add as many as five gaming terminals within their facilities and cities can be host to a mini casino, which will offer a lowered number of slots and table games.
Bobby Henon, a Philadelphia City Councilman who helped introduce the resolutions, stated that the city sent a strong message with their vote and that it is dangerous to think about this type of expansion in gaming in their neighborhoods. Henon talked about how the gaming could spread, starting first with truck stops then stop & gos and bars.
Henon also pointed out the social environment of the city, pointing towards the poverty and deep poverty percentages, stating that the community cannot afford to take the risk as it would “destroy the social fabric of the citizenry.” Another council member pointed out that the area needs to focus on the existing casinos already in play, including the SugarHouse and the soon to open venue located at Packer Avenue.
Keeping Their Benefits
The city already benefits from the existing gaming options with $4 million contributed on an annual basis to a general fund. $ million goes to the local school district and money is added to reduce the wager tax of the city. Even more revenue will be added to the state when a second casino is launched. The second casino, Live! Casino & Hotel, should be a big draw, seeing tons of visitors on a regular basis. This will help the city to continue to earn even more in revenues.
It’s no wonder that Philadelphia wants to keep things as is. If new mini casinos were created, it might lessen the amount they earn from the larger venues. The city seems to want to keep things the same, so they can continue to reap the benefits of the gaming that takes place in their region.
Local communities have until the 29th of this month to decide if they want to offer such gaming or not. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board needs to know which communities are and are not interested. The number of areas not interested continues to rise as the number of those in favor is still quite small.