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Municipalities to opt out of new casino act

Danielle Ryan

(11/23) On October 30, the Pennsylvania Legislature passed Act 42 of 2017, thereby creating a new Category 4 Licensed facility referred to as "mini-casinos." "Mini casinos" are defined as having between 300 and 750 slot machines and table games. The Legislature authorized up to ten of these facilities, which can be owned and operated by any business that holds a Category 1, 2, or 3 casino license. These casinos are to operate no fewer than 25 miles from established casinos.

Within the Act, it is mentioned that municipalities have the option to prohibit the location of a Category 4 Casino within their boundaries. However, municipalities only have until December 31, 2017 to take action. Any municipality that wishes to opt out of the casinos must pass a resolution declaring their intent to prohibit Category 4 "mini-casinos." This resolution must then be delivered to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board by no later than December 31. If a resolution is delivered after this date, it will not be considered.

Opting out of the "mini casinos" right now gives the township the option to say no in the future. If a township chooses to opt out now, they may, in the future, choose to opt back in by rescinding the original prohibition. However, once the resolution has been rescinded, a municipality loses its authority to prohibit future Category 4 Casinos. If a municipality chooses not to prohibit the casinos now, they will have no leverage in the future if a casino is brought to the Township.

Seeing this as a high priority item, since the due date is fast approaching, Hamiltonban Township will be holding a public hearing on December 5 to discuss this matter and asks that residents attend to share their opinion with the Board before they make a final decision. Carroll Valley Borough and Liberty Township also discussed the Legislature, and will be bringing a resolution back to their respective meetings in December to vote on.

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