Harrisburg, PA – Legislation sponsored by Rep. Rosemary M. Brown (R-Monroe/Pike) allowing a Category 3 resort gaming license to be located within 15 miles of another gaming facility was approved by the Gaming Oversight Committee on June 28.
Current law states that the two proposed Category 3 licenses – Valley Forge and Nemacolin – can be located within 15 miles of another facility, but a stipulation to the Gaming Act was added in 2010 that a third resort license must be located at least 30 miles from another facility.
“My proposal restores fairness to the awarding of a future resort license, leveling the field for Fernwood Resort, which applied for the previously available license,” said Brown. “If enacted, this bill would boost economic development, create more jobs and assist in the expansion of the retail, restaurant and tourism industry in our area.”
Act 44 specified that no more than seven Category 1 licensees (racetrack casinos); no more than five Category 2 licensees (stand-alone casinos); and no more than two Category 3 licensees (resort casinos) could be awarded.
Last year, Act 1 of 2010, which expanded the Gaming Act to include table games, was also amended to add an additional Category 3 license, but stated that no gaming license could be awarded within 30 miles of the Mt. Airy casino. Since Fernwood is 15 miles from Mt. Airy, the law meant that the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board was barred from considering Fernwood for a Category 3 license when one is made available after July 20, 2017. This date is contingent upon the other two Category 3 licensees being up and running.
“My goal in introducing House Bill 1716 is to ensure that when and IF a new Category 3 license is considered and approved by the Gaming Control Board that a facility such as Fernwood will be subject to the same location restrictions as the current Category 3 facilities,” said Brown. “This is a pro-business, pro-job and pro-tourism bill.”
If passed by the House and Senate, the bill would take effect in 60 days.