Opposition to a proposed casino 1/2 mile from the Gettysburg NMP
House Bill 65 Leaves Gettysburg Vulnerable to Casino; also betrays horse industry
Note: Category 1=racetrack + casino; Category 2= stand-alone 5000 slot casino; Category 3= Resort casino
Gettysburg is vulnerable to another casino attempt because a current bill would release two unused casino licenses to the highest bidder who will provide the greatest total incremental revenue to the state and best serve the undefined “interests of citizens”. Two possible licenses, one unused stand-alone casino from Philadelphia and one racino to be converted into a stand-alone casino could be auctioned to locations anywhere in PA.
One long term criticism of the PA Gaming law has been that casino licenses don’t cost developers enough and auctioning licenses has been suggested for years. The PA House Gaming Oversight Committee had over a year of deliberation on HB 65, which outlines an auction process for obtaining a casino license.
On 5/2/12 it passed the House of Representatives 140-48 and is now in a Senate Committee chaired by Sen. Jane Earll. It may be voted on very shortly.
If the Senate Bill becomes law, the Philadelphia-based Foxwoods stand-alone, Category 2 casino, license revoked last year by the PA Gaming Control Board (PGCB) would become the first to be auctioned off to an approved applicant. Pennsylvania gaming was supposed to save the horse industry, but this bill could also eliminate one or more racinos. The troubled Valley View Downs Racino (Cat 1) could be changed into a Cat 2 casino license and also be auctioned off.
We asked for a buffer in this bill but none was inserted so the Gettysburg National Military Park and Adams County’s family-friendly small towns are at great risk for another casino fight in the near future, just as we are welcoming millions of tourists for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Though it should be easy to prove that a casino near Gettysburg could never serve the interests of the citizens, the new bill seems to force rapid decision-making on the part of the PGCB.
The Situation in Adams County
David LeVan proposed two previous Gettysburg area casinos, Crossroads in 2005-2006 (Cat 2) and Mason-Dixon in 2009-2011 (Cat 3), but neither ever received a single vote from the PA Gaming Control Board (PGCB). He had also attempted a racino in 2007 but was turned down by the Pa Harness Racing Commission and a racino attempt in 2008 also failed.
Mr. LeVan has stated his intention to still pursue a casino in this area, but is currently embroiled in two legal battles. The first is a suit against the PGCB by Mason-Dixon Resort Casino to overturn the awarding of the resort casino license to Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. The second is a suit against his business partner Joseph Lashinger to be released from his partnership with Mason-Dixon. Mr. LeVan’s appeal said he feels the Supreme Court lawsuit is damaging to his reputation and he also wants out of the Mason-Dixon non-compete clause in order to pursue other gaming opportunities in Adams County. So he is quite clear that he will continue to work for a Gettysburg area casino, despite failures and intense opposition. The type of casino proposed must be Cat 2, which contains up to 5000 slot machines plus table games.
Key items of concern in the bill itself are:
If you live in PA please inform your Pa Senator that