PA Gaming Control Board Chairman Comments On Success of Public-input Hearings
ALLENTOWN: Tad Decker, Chairman of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, today commented on the conclusion of 18 days of public-input hearings across the state on 22 applications submitted to the Gaming Control Board for the 14 gaming licenses the Board is empowered by statute to award. The final hearing was held today in Allentown.
Chairman Decker’s statement follows:
“My fellow Gaming Control Board members and I want to take this opportunity to thank all of the people who testified at our public-input hearings. Act 71 did not require the Gaming Control Board to hold these hearings, but from the day we began work, we knew that the people of Pennsylvania deserved to have a public-input component in the process. The past eight weeks have shown that holding these hearings was the right decision.
“Since April 5, members of this Board and staff have traveled across Pennsylvania to hear from citizens, community groups, local elected officials and the applicants for gaming facilities themselves. During these eight weeks, the Board has held hearings in Gettysburg, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, the Poconos, the Lehigh Valley, Uniontown and Somerset. Overall, we have heard from almost 600 people at these hearings, and have received several hundred more written comments for the record.
“Each of us on the Board has been impressed with the quality of the testimony presented. It has been well-researched, well-thought out, and passionate -- and we are grateful for the preparation that went into it. Everyone who has appeared before us, regardless of his or her point of view, has contributed to a key part of the licensing process, specifically, preparation of an evidentiary record that will help the Board decide the most important issue before it: which applicants will receive gaming licenses.
“The next phase of the licensing process is a series of licensing hearings. These will take place in Harrisburg over the summer and fall. These hearings, which will be open to the public, will allow Board members to ask questions of applicants, and for applicants to respond to these questions and to any issues raised during our investigations of their suitability for licensure. These hearings will also play a key role in the licensing process.
“Before I conclude, let me offer this reminder: The public-input record remains open until Friday June 2, 2006, for anyone who still wishes to submit written comments. The process is easy. You can pick up a form at the registration area, fill it out and follow the instructions for returning it. Or, you can visit the Gaming Control Board Web site, www.pgcb.state.pa.us and download the form there and mail it to us.
“Thank you again for your participation in the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s public-input hearings.”