Supervisors learn about mini-casino potential

Shawn Hardy

Odds are that a mini-casino won’t be located in Franklin County, but if one is, Antrim Township is the most likely spot, according to state Rep. Paul Schemel.

Schemel, a Republican who represents southern Franklin County, briefed supervisors on new gambling legislation Tuesday night and told them there is a one-time opportunity prior to Dec. 31 for the township to opt out as a potential site. The township can opt out now and opt back in later, but this is the only opportunity to opt out, he explained.

Supervisors said they will talk about the matter at an upcoming meeting.

Schemel highlighted two pieces of the legislation, part of the state’s recently approved funding package, that could affect the township: mini-casinos and truck stop gambling.

n Licenses for 10 new mini-casinos will be auctioned off across the state and each would have 300 to 750 slot machines, up to 50 gaming tables, off-track betting and registration for cell phone igaming.

“In general, I think Franklin County is not a target, but if it is, Antrim Township would be the place,” Schemel said. He cited the township’s proximity to Interstate 81 and casino locations to the south at Charles Town, West Virginia, and in Maryland.

He added that Gettysburg has been discussed as a casino location in the past and is likely to come up again because of the number of tourists that visit the town.

Municipalities and counties that host mini-casinos will receive 2 percent of the profits from slots and 1 percent from table games.

n Under the legislation, truck stops can host up to five video gaming terminals. There is no opt-out option and all the money goes to the state, with no local revenues, according to Schemel.

Schemel said he voted against the spending plan, which includes the gambling measures, for a multitude of reasons, including the fact that lawmakers were given three hours to read a 900-page bill.

Gambling is an addictive behavior and “I think it’s not a good way to solve budget problems,” Schemel said. He also said the communities that host casinos see social consequences, including increases in bankruptcies and suicides.