PGCB Hears From Potential Applicants For Resort Licenses
HARRISBURG: The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board yesterday received important input from a number of witnesses as it prepares to open the application period for resort slot facilities.
The Race Horse Development and Gaming Act permits the licensing of two Category 3 facilities at well-established resort hotels having no fewer than 275 guest rooms under common ownership and having substantial year-round recreational guest amenities. The facilities can operate up to 500 slot machines compared to a maximum of 5,000 slot machines at Category 1 and 2 facilities.
The PGCB expects open an application period for these licenses within the next month, but set aside time Tuesday to receive comments publicly on both the legislative intent in the gaming law pertaining to this class of license and any suggested regulatory changes that could be considered to ensure success by applicants.
The Board invited participation from the State Legislature, potential applicants and current licensed operators. Testifying were:
- George Bedwick, legislative counsel, House Majority Whip
- Audrey Powell, policy director, House Majority Leader
- Charles Dickinson, Vacation Charters, Ltd. (Split Rock Resort)
- Judith Eschberger, Aurora Gaming
- Marie Jones, Resorts USA, Inc. (Fernwood Hotel & Resort)
In addition to the verbal testimony, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs provided written comments to the Board.
Information provided to the Board included consideration of time shares when determining the number of guest rooms, a clearer definition of when an individual is considered a patron of the amenities and thereby eligible to utilize the casino, and how a facility can gain a designation as a well-established resort.
“We received very valuable information at this meeting that focused on ensuring that any applicant for Category 3 licenses enters the application process fully aware of the eligibility requirements,” said Chairman Tad Decker. “The Board is committed to licensing the best facilities for the category of license and maximizes the tax revenue that will be returned to Commonwealth citizens.”
Last year, the Board had two applicants, Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Somerset County and Nemacolin Woodlands in Fayette County, but both withdrew their applications for varying reasons.
Testimony from the hearing, as well as written comments, will be available on the PGCB web site under the meeting information tab in the near future.
The next regularly scheduled Board meeting will be held in Hearing Room 1 of the North Office Building in Harrisburg on April 9, 2007 beginning at 2:00 pm.