Mini-casino: What's the latest on a York County casino?

Written by Teresa Boeckel/The York Daily Record | Jul 13, 2018 9:01 AM

FILE PHOTO: Patrons play the slot machines at Harrah's Casino in Chester. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Four communities remain in the running for a mini-casino.

(York) -- Penn National Gaming now will have until Sept. 12 to submit an application to open a mini-casino in York County.

The original deadline was Thursday, but the company asked the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board for a two-month extension.

The board recently granted that request. The vote was unanimous, said Doug Harbach, a spokesman for the state Gaming Control Board.

Penn National is still considering sites in Hellam, Springettsbury and Shrewsbury townships, along with its existing off-track betting site in Manchester Township, said Jeff Morris, a spokesman for Penn National. 

"We wanted additional time to conduct further analysis on the sites and expect to make a final decision in the near future," Morris said in an email. "Accessibility and enough space to accommodate both the facility and ample parking are two of the primary factors in determining the ideal location for our Category 4 facility."

The York Galleria is one of the sites that Penn National Gaming has expressed interest in, Springettsbury Township manager Benjamin Marchant said earlier this year. Supervisors initially had said no to a mini-casino but later opted in.

Penn National also has been eyeing a site just off the Wrightsville exit of Route 30 in Hellam Township. The company has said that if it selects that site, it would consider preserving the historic Mifflin House, which served as a stop on the Underground Railroad. Some residents in Hellam Township have spoken out against a mini-casino moving into the community.

In its petition to ask for an extension, Penn National said it "cannot take for granted that negotiations with the owner of one potential location will be successful." It may "need to negotiate with the owners of more than one potential location." 

The petition also states that until a site has been finalized, "it is not practicable to complete the preparation for all of the studies and reports that accompany the application, such as the local impact report."

Penn National only receives one deadline extension, Harbach said.

If it does apply to open a mini-casino site in York County, a public hearing will be held in the municipality where it would be located, Harbach said. The state Gaming Control Board also will want to hear more about the project, such as how it will impact traffic and infrastructure.

York County could be home to Pennsylvania's first "mini-casino" - a new classification of casino that lawmakers hope will generate $200 million annually in tax revenue. Chris Dunn, York Daily Record

This story comes to us through a partnership between WITF and The York Daily Record.

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