Satellite casinos are not welcome: Philadelphia City Council

The Philadelphia City Council has said no to Category 4 “mini-casinos” gambling venues within its downtown area. The officials voted 17-0 against the motion. The members of the council were quick with the explanation of the unanimous vote, saying they want to send “a strong message” to legislators in the Harrisburg capital.

The 17-member Philadelphia City Council quoted the city’s poverty as the main reason satellite casinos are not welcome. The councilman Bobby Henon said that allowing gaming expansion in our neighborhoods is like inviting a vampire into the home to get bitten. He added that allowing gaming would destroy the fabric of the citizenry.

In October, the Republican-controlled General Assembly had passed a gambling expansion package in a bid to generate tax revenues for the state via a new channel. The package was later signed by Governor Tom Wolf (D).

The gaming law allows 10 satellites, each permitting up to 750 slot machines and 30 table games, around the state. Besides, the legislation permits online gambling, gambling inside airports, daily fantasy sports, truck stop slot machines and creates a framework for betting on sports.

The municipalities face the deadline of January 1 to pass the resolution to opt out of the permitting mini-casino process. As of now, there are over 400 that have already done so.

The officials of the council also voted against allowing diesel truck stops from housing video gaming terminals (VGTs).The truck stop law mandates 5 VGTs per location.

To qualify for the VGTs, the establishments must sell 50,000 gallons of diesel a month, have parking for 20 commercial vehicles, and should have an area of three acres at least. However, none of the truck stop meets any of the said criterions. The council raised a concern that a gas station could build out its property to become a downtown gambling venue and thus, voted against allowing video gaming terminals (VGTs) in the region.

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