York Co. business advocates optimistic about mini-casino

Written by Rachel McDevitt | Jan 10, 2018 3:15 PM

FILE - In this May 24, 2012 file photo, patrons play the slot machines at Harrah's Casino in Chester, Pa. The odds are long on Northeast's casino projects hitting financial expectations. A review of tax data in the last several states to open casinos: Ohio, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, shows that overall revenue is below baseline forecasts. Officials blame miscalculations of spending habits and new competition, but some also question how much the numbers reflected wishful thinking. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(Harrisburg) -- Pennsylvania's first mini-casino could be coming to York County, and those promoting economic development in the area are welcoming the news. 

A subsidiary of Penn National Gaming submitted the winning bid to put up a casino within a 15-mile radius centered on the borough of Yoe.

The area of the potential casino encompasses the city of York and stretches down to the Maryland border. Interstate 83 runs through it. 

The Berks County-based company is paying just over $50 million for the license, authorized under Pennsylvania's recent gambling expansion law.

Kevin Schreiber, president of the York County Economic Alliance, says he thinks the county is well-positioned for the opportunity.

"It was several years ago that the state had done a market study that really assssed if and when another license became available, where would the market best suit and York scored very high then," he said.

Schreiber says the casino will help the county compete for tourism in the midstate as well as draw in people from Maryland.

Ultimately, he thinks the area will benefit.

"This is a pretty significant investment," Schreiber said. "This is over $100 million that will be invested to build this casino. It's a great catalyst for additional economic development."

Penn National must meet licensing requirements before the deal is finalized.

The gaming company is also suing the state over gambling expansion, saying the mini-casinos would cause "significant and unique" harm to its Hollywood Casino in Dauphin County.

State lawmakers are hoping 10 new mini-casinos will help the state's struggling finances.

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