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Hempfield, Greensburg start lobbying to host Westmoreland County mini-casino

Jacob Tierney
| Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018, 1:00 p.m.
An employee reaches for chips at a roulette table at Rivers Casino.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune Review
An employee reaches for chips at a roulette table at Rivers Casino.

To bolster their hope of landing Westmoreland County's mini-casino, Hempfield supervisors this week passed a resolution promoting the benefits of building the project in the township.

Philadelphia-based Stadium Casino LLC bid $40.1 million last month in a state auction for the right to build a mini-casino within a 15-mile radius of Derry Township.

The company has not revealed where it plans to build.

There are numerous eligible communities, including Greensburg and Derry, Hempfield, Unity and Salem townships.

“They all want it,” said Hemp­field Supervisor Rob Ritson.

Greensburg officials have reached out to the developers to promote sites in the city.

“We're more than willing to have a mini-casino in Greensburg,” said Barbara Ciampini, city planning director.

Derry Township likely will pass a resolution similar to the one Hempfield approved Monday within a few weeks, Supervisor David Slifka said.

“We have a good area. We feel it could work out for Derry Township and the casino people,” he said.

The casino will create jobs, bring tourists and generate tax revenue for its host municipality, Ritson said.

Hempfield's resolution touts the township's “excellent infrastructure” and “vibrant regional retail shopping district” as reasons the Stadium Casino group might want to build there.

Commercial development in the township has declined by about 40 percent over the last three years, according to township officials. Supervisors believe a casino could spur growth.

Though the 10 new mini-casinos to be built across Pennsylvania are expected to promote the creation of spin-off businesses such as shops and restaurants as well as create jobs, some gambling experts predict they might bring in less tax revenue than government officials expect.

Adding more casinos could cut into the profit of existing ones, spreading around existing revenue rather than creating more, experts predict.

The mini-casinos each can have up to 750 slot machines and 40 table games.

Stadium Casino LLC is expected to submit a full development plan to the state this summer, including the location where it plans to build.

Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6646, or via Twitter @Soolseem.

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