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Sharpsburg council says 'no' to satellite casino option

Tawnya Panizzi
| Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017, 9:00 p.m.
Jean Miller of Moon sings along as The Fabulous Fifties slot machine plays 'Why Do Fools Fall in Love'  during a slot machine preview at  Rivers Casino in 2014.
Heidi Murrin | Tribune-Review
Jean Miller of Moon sings along as The Fabulous Fifties slot machine plays 'Why Do Fools Fall in Love' during a slot machine preview at Rivers Casino in 2014.

Sharpsburg has joined a growing list of Lower Valley communities that prohibit casino satellites from opening in the borough.

Council voted unanimously last month to opt out of a state proposal that would allow 10 mini-casinos to open in Pennsylvania. Aspinwall and O'Hara councils also voted against the option.

The plan is intended to help fund the state's budget deficit.

“Although the likelihood of a casino taking root in Sharpsburg is small, under the new law municipalities have a small window of time to opt out of hosting a casino,” said council member and Mayor-elect Matt Rudzki. “By opting out, we allow time for due diligence and to obtain feedback from residents.”

The law allows a municipality to opt in later.

But, Rudzki said, he doesn't feel a casino is the type of business residents want in the community.

“Nor does it fit the objectives of our comprehensive plan,” he said.

Municipal boards that decide against the option were required to alert the Gaming Control Board by the end of last year.

Municipalities that choose to allow casinos to open will be eligible for financial incentives.

The state approved the new gambling facilities to try to bring in at least $200 million in the first year through license fees and taxes to help cover a projected $2.2 billion budget shortfall.

The mini casinos will be allowed to have up to 750 slot machines and up to 50 gaming tables.

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for the Tribune-Review. Reach her at 412-782-2121, ext. 2, or @tawnyatrib.

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