Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Completes Category 3 Resort Licensing Hearings
Both Valley Forge and Fernwood present case for license suitability
HARRISBURG: The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board today completed two days of licensing suitability hearings for Valley Forge Convention Center Partners, L.P. and Bushkill Group, Inc. (Fernwood Hotel & Resort), each requesting approval for either of the two available Category 3 slot machine licenses for existing resorts.
The hearings provided the Board with an opportunity to hear directly from the two applicants and to thoroughly question each about their character, operational and financial suitability, community impact, diversity plans, plans for the prevention of compulsive gaming and other issues.
In turn, PGCB staff reported to the Board their findings on the suitability of each applicant based on background investigations on the corporate entities and its principles, each applicant’s financing plans and expected revenue generation.
“The Board will review all evidence collected and put into the record during these hearings, and be in a position to deliberate and consider a public vote on the awarding of these licenses in the future,” said Chairman Mary DiGiacomo Colins.
In addition to the testimony and written evidence presented yesterday and today, information gathered during last year’s Category 3 licensing suitability hearings and public input hearings held earlier this year is also part of the evidentiary record for the Board’s review in making their decision. The Board’s decision can include awarding both licenses, awarding just one, or not awarding either to these applicants.
The Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act permits the Board to award up to two licenses permitting a maximum of 500 slot machines in well-established resort hotels. Properties located in Pennsylvania that could qualify for a Category 3 license must be well-established resort hotels with no fewer than 275 guest rooms under common ownership, not located within 15 linear miles of any other licensed slot machine casino, and already offering substantial year-round recreational guest amenities on their premises.
The Act, along with regulations established by the Board, restricts who can enter the gaming area of a Category 3 casino. Those permitted to utilize the gaming facility include registered overnight guests, patrons of one or more of the amenities, authorized employees and other persons authorized by the Board, and individuals holding a Board-approved and valid seasonal or year-round membership to use one or more of the amenities at the resort.
The Board originally received four applications during 2007 for this category of license. However, two of the applicants, Vacation Charters, Ltd., a/k/a the Resort at Split Rock in Lake Harmony, Carbon County and CE-Palace, LP, a/k/a the Palace Inn in Monroeville, Allegheny County, later withdrew.
A report on projected revenues for these facilities along with presentations made at the suitability hearings are available on the PA Gaming Control Board’s web site at www.pgcb.state.pa.us. Since the first casino opening in November, 2006, legalized slot machine gaming has contributed nearly $1.9 billion in tax revenues to the Commonwealth for use in property tax reduction and rebates, strengthening the state’s horse racing and agriculture industries, and promoting economic development.
At the PGCB’s web site, you can also learn more about the Board’s role in the oversight of legalized slot machine gaming in the Commonwealth and about the state’s gaming casinos. In addition, visitors to the site can access information to assist those who may have a compulsive gambling problem, review transcripts of meetings and hearings, file complaints for investigation, and request a speaker for their organization.