Public Input Hearing To Consider Permitting Table Games At Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem Scheduled For March 11th
PGCB web site offers public documents and information on citizen participation
HARRISBURG: The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board today announced that it would hold a public hearing on Thursday, March 11, 2010 to gather evidence, including public comment, on the petition submitted by Sands Bethworks Gaming, LLC, operator of the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem in Northampton County, requesting authorization to conduct table games.
The hearing will begin at 10:00 am in the Bethlehem Town Hall located at 10 East Church Street in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Citizens, community groups and elected officials wishing to present oral or written testimony, which will become part of the evidentiary record in this matter, can register for this hearing by clicking on a special link on the homepage of the PGCB website at www.pgcb.state.pa.us. This link will not only provide information and assistance in participating in the hearing process, but also allow viewing and downloading of public documents related to Sands Bethworks’ petition to permit table games and a list of hearing witnesses updated as they register.
As additional table games petitions are received from casino operators and public input hearings are scheduled, the web site will be expanded to offer additional information on those hearings.
The deadline for registration and the receipt of written comments for this hearing is noon on Tuesday, March 9th. Comments can also be mailed, with a postmark no later than Tuesday, March 9th, to the PA Gaming Control Board, P.O. Box 69060, Harrisburg, PA 17106, Attention: Board Secretary, or the comments can be faxed to 717-346-8350.
Senate Bill 711, now Act 1 of 2010, provides authorization for existing Pennsylvania casinos to conduct table games through the filing of a petition with the Gaming Control Board. Prior to considering a petition, the Board will hold a public input hearing on the matter in the municipality where the petitioner’s licensed slot machine facility is located. The Board must approve or deny the request within 60 days of the receipt of a complete petition.
The contents of a petition, along with the standards that are to be met in order to be considered for a table games certificate, are outlined in the Act. These include:
- the number and type of table games for which authorization is sought;
- the estimated number of full-time and part-time employment positions that will be created through the addition of table games;
- a description of the additional economic benefits expected to be realized by the Commonwealth and its residents;
- site plans identifying the petitioner’s proposed table game area; and,
- a description of the licensee’s plan to provide training and instruction for personnel.
Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem is a Category 2 facility, one of five casinos in Pennsylvania licensed as a stand alone venue. Under the Act, Category 1 (a casino at a horse racing track) and Category 2 facilities may initially operate up to 250 gaming tables, with no more than 30% of these used for nonbanking games. Six months following the date of commencement of table game operations, the Category 1 or Category 2 table games certificate holder can increase the number of gaming tables upon approval by the Board. The certificate holder must petition the Board for the increase, at which time the Board shall take into account the appropriateness of the physical space where the gaming tables will be located, the convenience of the public attending the facility, and the potential benefit to the Commonwealth.
About the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board was established in 2004 with the passage of Act 71, also known as the Race Horse Development and Gaming Act. Pennsylvania’s first new state agency in nearly 40 years, the Gaming Control Board is tasked to oversee all aspects of the state’s casino industry. To date, with nine of a maximum fourteen casinos in operation, legalized gaming in the Commonwealth has created over 8,000 new living wage jobs, revenue that has provided property tax reduction in each of the past two years for all homeowners, and funds that have reinvigorated Pennsylvania’s horse racing industry. A wealth of information about the Gaming Control Board and Pennsylvania’s gaming industry can be found at www.pgcb.state.pa.us. At this web site, videos and information on the operation of the PGCB, problem gambling efforts and assistance, future meeting schedules and past meeting transcripts, and a link to request a speaker are among the many items available.
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