Even though the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) authorized a new casino in the State College area earlier this year, the project still faces staunch opposition. Community activist Andrew Shaffer leads the anti-casino movement, which has collected thousands of signatures in protest of the casino’s construction.
Fears Over Casino’s Impact on Students and Economy
Critics of the proposed casino contend that it could negatively affect both Penn State students and Pennsylvania’s economy. They argue that the casino might promote gambling addiction among students and contribute to the overall financial instability in the region.
Decision-Making Process Leaves Residents Dissatisfied
The casino’s approval process has left many residents feeling left out and unheard. The perceived lack of transparency and community engagement has fueled concerns that mounting pressure from the gambling industry, combined with existing state laws, facilitated the casino’s approval without proper consideration of local opinions.
Municipality’s Irreversible Choice to Host Casino
A 2017 state law stipulates that College Township agreed to the casino’s construction before the license was granted. Since that decision, ten mini-casino licenses have been issued in Pennsylvania, opening the door for casinos to be built statewide. However, once a municipality commits to hosting a casino, the decision is irrevocable.
Controversial Public Hearing and Ira Lubert’s Casino License
Ira Lubert, a former member of the Board of Trustees in Pennsylvania, won an auction for a casino license in September 2020 and chose to build the casino in College Township. A public hearing took place in August 2021, but activist Andrew Shaffer claims the hearing’s timing was deliberately selected to minimize public input.
Legal Hurdles Ahead for SC Gaming
SC Gaming, the company responsible for building the mini-casino, is facing two lawsuits filed by Cordish Companies against the PGCB. Cordish Companies, the owner of Stadium Casino, lost its bid for a license three years ago and is now challenging SC Gaming’s right to build the casino.
Alleged Bally’s Corporation Partnership and License Appeal Lawsuits
The first lawsuit filed by Cordish Companies accuses SC Gaming of forming a partnership with Bally’s Corporation after winning the auction, which may have provided financial support to secure the license. If proven, this could disqualify SC Gaming from the bidding process.
A separate lawsuit has been filed with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, appealing the casino’s license. The outcome of this case is still pending. If the Court rules in favor of Cordish Companies, the casino may lose its license, forcing the company to search for an alternative location for its project.
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