Residents not welcoming of Penn National Gaming’s Berks County satellite casino

Penn National Gaming Inc. is one of several operators in Pennsylvania that has plans to open a satellite casino in the state.  The company would like to create the Hollywood Casino in Morgantown, in Berks County, spending $111 million on the project. A recent public hearing on the matter revealed that residents are not happy with the idea and do not want to see a casino created. The hearing was announced back in February.

CasiNO!

Over 100 residents of Berks County attended the hearing involving Penn National’s plans for the satellite casino. Several of those in attendance wore badges that said the word ‘CasiNO!,’ showing their displeasure in the prospect of a casino in their region.

Reportedly, efforts are being made by residents to stop the casino from being created. Michele King is a resident in nearby Honey Brook, working to lead 7BALL CC an effort to fight the project. During the meeting, King presented a petition with just over 1,000 signatures showing objections to the casino.

According to Pennlive.com…

Richard McGarvey, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, stated that the hearing is a standard step in the application process for a casino license. It is not uncommon to hear from the opposition during such hearings, but according to McGarvey, those in attendance were more organized than the Board has seen in previous casino proposal hearings.

Opponents of the casino showed their concern regarding an increase in gambling addiction in the region due to the venue as well as possible drug abuse, sex trafficking and prostitution. Those opposed believe that a casino does not belong in the area, one that is a conservative and faith-based community.

Showing Support:

While many in attendance were opposed to the plans, there were those in favor on hand as well. There are locals in support of the mini casino as they see the venue as an opportunity for the county. A group called Supporters of Hollywood Casino Morgantown was on hand with a petition as well, this one in favor of the project. The petition had 156 signatures in favor of the venue.

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Penn National would like to build a casino on a site that is 36 acres in size. The location is at the intersection of the turnpike, Route 10 and Interstate 76. The area is ideal as it has been empty for many years. Since the location is near the turnpike, the majority of the casino traffic would not have to go through town, which would be beneficial to residents of the area.

During the meeting, Penn officials debuted their pitch for the casino. They plan on having as many as 750 slot machines as well as 30 table games. Also included would be a lounge for sports betting.

If the Gaming Control Board gives their approval, the project could open by the fall of 2020.