Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Mini-Casinos / PennSEF - PA ABLE

Written by Rich Copeland - Producer, WITF's Smart Talk | Nov 11, 2017 8:00 PM



On the Monday November 13th, 2017 edition of WITF's Smart Talk:

Governor Wolf signed the state's gaming expansion bill into law late last month; the law will allow for the placement of video gaming terminals in truck stops and airports, it will legalize online gaming and allow for brick-and-mortar mini-casinos to open throughout the state.

The mini-casino concept has both residents and officials in the central counties concerned.  One of the provisions of the bill was that these ten mini-casinos have to be built more than 25 miles away from existing casinos - this places many of the proposed sites in communities in Berks, Lancaster, York and other counties in the region.

Lancaster Mayor Rick Gray is concerned his city can't handle the impact of a casino, saying "I'm not a big fan of it, for what it's worth. Quite frankly, with what's happening in downtown Lancaster, probably the last thing we need is a casino."

Some are more receptive; Williamsport Mayor Gabriel Campana would like "the opportunity to sit down with citizens to discuss how they feel about it, because every time you bring gambling into a community, there's some pros and there's some cons."

Even established casino operators are concerned about how this mini-casino development would impact their existing territories; Penn National spokesperson Eric Schippers said the gaming giant is grappling with " . . . the uniquely awkward position of figuring out how to protect our market share."

Lancaster County Commission Chairman Dennis Stuckey isn't feeling positive about the mini-casinos, saying "I don't think there is much chance of a mini-casino coming to Lancaster County.  The community was clear in its opposition several years ago when a casino was proposed in downtown Lancaster."

On the Monday's Smart Talk, we'll talk with Commissioner Stuckey about his concerns and why he feels Lancaster is not the right place to build mini-casinos. 

State Senator Kim Ward, a Republican from Westmoreland County, will discuss the benefits mini-casinos can bring to her Western PA community and Eric Schipper, vice president of public affairs and government relations with Penn National will talk about the impact on established casinos in the state.

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Lancaster County Commission Chairman Dennis Stuckey / PA State Senator Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland County) / Eric Schippers - Vice President of Public Affairs and Government Relations, Penn National Gaming

Also, the Pennsylvania Treasury Department is getting in the green energy game with the Pennsylvania Sustainable Energy Fund, an effort to encourage energy improvement for municipalities, hospitals, universities and other public and private entities.  State Treasurer Joe Torsella will join Smart Talk to discuss the PennSEF program for promoting sustainable energy consumption as well as a new program to aid Pennsylvanians with disabilities achieve financial independence.  

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Pennsylvania State Treasurer Joe Torsella


- Absolutely NOT in Lancaster County! Tell the PA State Legislators to look elsewhere for revenues that they "need" to balance their budget! Their failure to act and negotiate on the budget is impacting all of us!...this is just another angle!                        - Mike, Lititz

- Pennsylvania is moving into the future!  They have to embrace change in order to thrive and offer people entertainment and growth.   Why are people so resistant to progress? - Jemma

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