HARRISBURG – Senators Ryan Aument (R-36th) and Scott Martin (R-13th) today forwarded a letter to each of their respective municipal governments notifying them that they must quickly take action in order to prevent a “mini-casino” from siting within their local government boundary.
“Although we both voted against this massive expansion of gambling,” said the Senators, “we have a duty to inform our municipal leaders that while they cannot keep all the new gambling options out of their townships and boroughs, they can opt-out of having one of the new mini-casinos sited there.”
The new law authorizes up to ten mini-casinos to be operated by the existing casinos. It also legalized internet gambling run by casinos, video gaming terminals at truck stops, bets on daily fantasy sports games and airport tablet gambling.
Also included in the new law is an opt-out provision for municipalities that do not want a Category 4 “mini-casino” within their borders. Under the law, local governments must pass a resolution prohibiting the location of one of these facilities within the municipality by December 31, 2017.
“As a lifelong Lancaster County resident as well as a State Senator, I am deeply disturbed and troubled by the new law,” said Senator Aument. “It saddens me to think that the face and culture of our home and our way of life could forever be negatively changed by a vice that provides no social or economic value.”
Senator Martin urged municipal leaders to take the opt-out provision seriously and move quickly to consider a resolution.
“At least municipalities have some power to prevent the mini-casinos from locating in Lancaster County,” said the Senator. “We have a solemn obligation and are entrusted to protect our communities from known problems, and I see no public benefit from expanding gambling to a place as special as our county.”
The Senators noted that the latest gambling expansion effort will make Pennsylvania one of the top states in legalized options for gambling, and that no other state has taken such an aggressive approach to legalized gambling.
“This is certainly not the way to promote healthy families, strong communities, a vibrant economy or high performing schools,” said Senator Aument.
“I am hopeful that the General Assembly’s appetite for more gambling has finally been satisfied,” said Senator Martin. “I came to Harrisburg to make things better, not worse, and this law will not make things better.”
The Senators noted in their letter to municipal officials that they stand ready to help should assistance be necessary.
“If local governments do not act, there is nothing that we can do to prevent a mini-casino from coming to Lancaster County,” said the Senators. “That would be a very sad day for our county and people.”
CONTACT: Jake Smeltz (717) 787-4420 (Senator Aument)
Terry Trego (717) 787-6535 (Senator Martin)