The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board today announced that it would hold a public hearing on Wednesday, February 24, 2010 to gather evidence, including public comment, on the petition submitted by Downs Racing, L.P., operator of the slot machine casino at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, requesting authorization to conduct table games.
Downs Racing is the first casino operator to file a petition since this year’s passage of Senate Bill 711 on January 7th which permitted the addition of table games at Pennsylvania casinos.
The hearing will begin at 10:00 am at the Fox Hill Firehouse, 50 Second Street in Plains, 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 Mohegan Sun’s petition to permit table games. 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.
The deadline for registration and the receipt of written comments for this hearing is noon on Monday, February 22nd. Comments can also be mailed, with a postmark no later than Monday, February 22nd, 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 in the Act. These include:
• the number and types 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.
Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs is a Category 1 facility wherein the casino operates at a Pennsylvania racetrack. Category 1 and Category 2 (stand alone) 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.