HARRISBURG – Senators Ryan Aument (R-36th) and Scott Martin (R-13th) confirmed that this morning the last remaining municipal resolution opting out of a “mini-casino” has been delivered to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, ensuring that every municipality in Lancaster County has now elected to prevent a mini-casino from locating anywhere within the county.
“We could not be more pleased with the quick response and strong statement this sends to Harrisburg special interests,” said the senators. “Lancaster County is extraordinary for many reasons, and hosting a mini-casino here adds nothing positive to our culture, people or economy. In fact, it runs counter to our heritage and character.”
The new gambling law authorized up to 10 mini-casinos to be operated by the existing casinos located in Pennsylvania. It also legalized internet gambling run by casinos, video gaming terminals at truck stops, bets on daily fantasy sports games and airport tablet gambling.
Municipal governments which chose not to be targeted to host a Category 4 “mini-casino” within their borders were given an “opt-out” option that required them to pass a resolution prohibiting the location of a mini-casino within the municipality by December 31, 2017.
“While the new law greatly troubles me because gambling offers no social or economic value, I am deeply moved by the fact that every single municipality in Lancaster County agreed that there are better ways to prosper,” said Senator Aument. “Our county is unique among all the counties in Pennsylvania for many reasons, and I could not be more proud of our locally elected leaders who share the values I work so hard to advance in the State Senate.”
Senators Aument and Martin sent a letter to the 60 municipalities in the county alerting them of their option to prohibit a mini-casino from siting within their boundaries and followed up with another letter and outreach to ensure that they could meet the tight deadline outlined in the new gambling expansion law.
“When I consider all that our wonderful county has to offer – from the renaissance that is happening in Lancaster City, to the richness of our production agriculture in the rural areas – I am so encouraged that today we unanimously agreed to promote a better way of life for our people and economy,” said Senator Martin. “Lancaster County should be proud of its leadership in promoting a value system and economic policy that do not invite people to lose their hard earned money gambling.”
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.
“As we have said before, we have a solemn obligation and are entrusted to protect our communities from known problems, and we see no public benefit from expanding gambling to a place as special as our county,” said the senators.
“We are hopeful that the General Assembly’s appetite for more gambling has finally been satisfied,” said the senators. “We came to Harrisburg to make things better, not worse, and this law in no way promotes healthy families, strong communities, a vibrant economy or high-performing schools.”
CONTACT: Jake Smeltz (717) 787-4420 (Senator Aument)
Terry Trego (717) 787-6535 (Senator Martin)