PA Gaming Control Board Adopts Second Regulatory Reform Measure
HARRISBURG: The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board today approved for public comment an amendment to its regulations that will increase the public visibility of the licensing process while honoring the confidentiality provisions of the Gaming Act.
The amendment, the second of a package of regulatory updates adopted by the Board, adds two new provisions to existing procedures for slot license hearings. These provisions, which will be posted on the Board web site for 30-day public comment after approval by the Pennsylvania Attorney General, will:
• Allow any information the Bureau of Investigations and Enforcement (BIE) collects about an applicant during the course of its investigation from public sources to be presented at the licensing hearing. Other information collected by BIE is required, under the Gaming Act, to be treated as confidential.
• Permits the Board to ask questions related to confidential information at the public licensing hearing. The applicant would then have the option of responding to the questions at the hearing, in essence waiving the applicant’s right to confidentiality, or requesting that the matter be heard in executive session. The applicant, however, must demonstrate to the Board that the information falls under the confidentiality provisions of the Act.
Gaming Control Board Chairman Mary DiGiacomo Colins noted that these regulations, along with one adopted last month and others that will be considered in the future, are key elements of reform to assure the public that the licensing process is transparent while protecting the rights of individuals in compliance with the Commonwealth’s Gaming Act. In March, the Board approved regulatory changes that require license applicants to provide information under the Pennsylvania Right to Know Act and Federal Freedom of Information Act.
“Our position has always been that we will do what is necessary to protect the integrity of gaming within Pennsylvania’s vigilant regulatory environment,” Chairman Colins says.
In other matters today, the Board approved a modification to the permanent facility plans by Washington Trotting Association, Inc. for The Meadows Racetrack and Casino. Those changes were presented to the Board at a public hearing and include:
• The addition of a five level parking facility attached to the gaming facility that will hold up to 1,000 vehicles;
• The expansion of the gaming floor to accommodate up to 4,200 slot machines;
• The addition of a 16 to 18 lane bowling alley;
• Elimination during this phase of the construction of a hotel, with plans to add it in a phase 2 project
Representative for The Meadows told the Board today that these changes will not changed the anticipated June 2009 opening of its permanent facility.
The Board also approved a petition from Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment, Inc. to increase both the floor space and number of slot machines at the current Philadelphia Park temporary facility. A total of 209 slot machines will be added that would bring Philadelphia Park total to 2,912.
For more information about the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, visit our website at http://www.pgcb.state.pa.us