Midstate casino not thrilled with gambling expansion

Written by Rachel McDevitt | Nov 13, 2017 3:36 PM

Photo by Matt Paul/witf

(Harrisburg) -- The state is hoping to solve at least some of its financial woes with a major expansion of gambling.

The new law allows video gaming terminals in truck stops and airports, and lets Pennsylvania's ten largest casinos bid to open mini-casinos.

But some people in the gaming sector are less than thrilled.

Eric Schipper with Penn National's Hollywood Casino in Grantville said there's major concern about cannibalization.

He told WITF's Smart Talk the law's 25-mile buffer zone meant to prevent too much competition might work in urban areas. 

"But for us out in the middle of Central PA, these casinos can come to York, Lancaster, Reading, Gettysburg, Mechanicsburg--the list goes on and on," Schipper said. "And that will have a profoundly cannibalization impact on our business."

Schipper said Penn National might put in a bid for a mini-casino to protect its current market share.

"Will it potentially, marginally increase revenues? Potentially. But it will come at the expense of, potentially, jobs and revenue at our existing casino in Grantville," he said.

Schipper said the casino is weighing its legal options in regard to the new law, which it believes was "ill-conceived."

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