State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

The State House Sound Bites Podcast is now called State of the State and is a part of PA Post, a digital-first, citizen-focused news organization to hold Pennsylvania’s government accountable to its citizens.

Every Lancaster municipality opts out of gambling expansion

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Jan 2, 2018 4:49 AM

The expansion would license 10 new mini-casinos and allow video gaming terminals in truck stops. (Photo by AP)


(Harrisburg) -- Just a few days before the deadline to opt out of Pennsylvania's impending gaming expansion, every municipality in Lancaster County has decided to do just that.

Apart from Philadelphia, it's the only county to shut the door completely on hosting one of ten new miniature casinos.

But it's far from the only place where the expansion has been unpopular.

Lawmakers passed the law to license 10 new mini-casinos and legalize remote video gaming terminals in truck stops as part of a plan to balance the state budget.

A number of lawmakers opposed the move completely--including Lancaster County Senator Ryan Aument.

"There's been real concern [in Lancaster] with the social consequences of gambling, and real concern with balancing our budgets, supporting new spending, higher spending, through gambling expansions," he said.

Aument and fellow Lancaster Republican Scott Martin made a concerted effort to let municipal officials in the county know how to opt out--and they all did it.

All told, over 900 municipalities around the state have taken themselves out of the running to host casinos, including Philadelphia.

All but one of the 11 counties eligible to opt out of hosting video gaming terminals have also done so.

Aument said he's not concerned the opt outs will cut into revenue from the expansion, because he was never convinced it would make much money in the first place.

"If you look at recent history, gambling expansions in Pennsylvania have not met the projections in terms of revenue," he said. "That was one of the fundamental concerns I had with the revenue package that was adopted this year."

The expansion is supposed to produce around $200 million dollars.

Published in News, State House Sound Bites

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