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Mini-casino likely in Chambersburg after Mayor’s tie-breaking vote

Mini casino likely in Chambersburg after Mayor s tie breaking vote

Chambersburg in Pennsylvania might soon host a mini-casino. The prospect of mini-casino in the borough was dead-locked at 5-5 before the interim mayor and mayor-elect Walter Bietsch cast the deciding vote in favor on Monday.

Pennsylvania’s gaming law allows up to 10 of the “category 4” casinos across the state. The municipalities have time until December 31 to decide on excluding mini-casinos, the latest gambling arenas sanctioned by the Pennsylvania legislature.

As of now, around 450 municipalities have passed resolutions declaring they will not host a mini-casino.

A mini-casino can feature 300 to 750 slot machines and 40 table games at max. The state of Pennsylvania has 10 large casinos operating currently, with each permitted a maximum of 5,000 slot machines and 250 table games.

The municipality and the county that hosts a mini-casino each would receive 1 percent of the gross receipts from table games and 2 percent from slot machines, maximum of up out $1.6 million. Besides, the state gets 50 percent tax on slots' gross receipts while 14 percent on table games as revenue.

Herb Dolaway, Heath Talhelm, Jeremey Cate, Sean Scott and Alice Elia are among the councilmen to have voted in favor of the ban on the complete ban on casinos, while councilmen Lou Cowles, Allen Coffman, Samantha Bietsch, Sharon Bigler and have favored the mini-casinos.

The mayor Bietsch said that they should not shut the door without an understanding of what lies behind. He called his vote as a strategic decision and believes that mini-casino can give a revenue boost to support the borough police department or to help pay back the debt for the aquatics center. He further confirmed that the Borough police did not have problems with the off-track betting establishment on Walker Road.

The Chambersburg council has directed the solicitor and staff to look at the borough’s planning and zoning regulations for the mini-casino. The proposal containing changes dealing with mini-casinos is expected in the first quarter of 2018. The state will hold the auction for the mini-casino license on July 31.

At the moment, the bidding for the 10 mini-casino licenses is open to the owners of stand-alone casinos, followed by smaller casino operators and outside interests. The bidders would get time until the end of January 2019 to give details of their casino sites.