Notice From the PA Gaming Control Board: Municipal Option To Prohibit Category 4 Casino
On Oct. 30, 2017, Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law House Bill 271 which amends the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act (“Act”), 4 Pa.C.S. §§1101 et seq., and authorizes a number of gambling expansion opportunities throughout the Commonwealth.
One such opportunity is found in the creation of up to ten Category 4 slot machine licenses which would likely, but not necessarily, be owned and operated by existing Pennsylvania licensed casino operators which already have other gaming properties in the Commonwealth. Under the expansion language, each Category 4 casino could operate between 300 and 750 slot machines and eventually up to 50 table games. No Category 4 location could be located within 25 linear miles of an existing Category 1, 2 or 3 casino facility.
Generally, no Category 4 location could be located within 25 linear miles of an existing Category 1, 2 or 3 casino facility, with the exception that the operator of a Category 1, 2 or 3 casino facility may locate a Category 4 casino within 25 miles of its own Category 1, 2 or 3 casino facility.
Section1305.1 (A.1) of the Act is entitled “Municipal Option” and provides municipalities the option to prohibit, or opt-out of, the siting of a Category 4 facility within that municipality.1 As referenced, Title 4, Section 1103 defines a “Municipality” as “a city, borough, incorporated town or township.” If a municipality wishes to exercise this option and prohibit a Category 4 casino from being placed in the municipality, the governing body of the municipality must deliver a resolution exercising this power to the Board no later than December 31, 2017.
Click here for a sample resolution.
In order to facilitate this process, if a municipality desires to avail itself of the municipal option regarding Category 4 casinos, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board provides the following guidance:
First, the governing body of the municipality should officially adopt the Resolution at a public meeting consistent with the requirements of Pennsylvania’s Sunshine Act, 65 Pa.C.S. §701 et seq., after October 31, 2017.
Then, an official copy of the Resolution should be delivered no later than December 31, 2017 to:
Pamela Lewis, Board Secretary
Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board
303 Walnut Street
Commonwealth Tower, 5th Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17101
The Board also recommends that each municipal governing body consult their solicitor in the development of the resolution which, at minimum, should include the following information:
Reference to the power granted under Section 1305.1 and the municipality’s decision to exercise the power to opt-out;
The date that the governing body adopted the resolution; and
The inclusion of signatures or seal necessary to establish that the resolution was officially adopted.
The specific text of the statute is as follows:
§1305.1 (A.1) MUNICIPAL OPTION.
(1) PRIOR TO THE COMMENCEMENT OF AN AUCTION UNDER SECTION 1305.2, EACH MUNICIPALITY SHALL HAVE THE OPTION TO PROHIBIT THE LOCATION OF A CATEGORY 4 LICENSED FACILITY WITHIN THE MUNICIPALITY BY DELIVERING A RESOLUTION OF THE MUNICIPALITY'S GOVERNING BODY TO THE BOARD NO LATER THAN DECEMBER 31, 2017. NO CATEGORY 4 LICENSED FACILITY
MAY BE LOCATED IN A MUNICIPALITY WHICH HAS EXERCISED ITS OPTION UNDER THIS PARAGRAPH.
(2) A MUNICIPALITY THAT PROHIBITS THE LOCATION OF A CATEGORY 4 LICENSED FACILITY WITHIN THE MUNICIPALITY UNDER SUBSECTION (A) MAY RESCIND THAT PROHIBITION AT ANY TIME BY DELIVERING A NEW RESOLUTION OF THE MUNICIPALITY'S GOVERNING BODY TO THE BOARD. A
MUNICIPALITY THAT RESCINDS ITS PRIOR PROHIBITION ACCORDING TO THIS SUBSECTION MAY NOT SUBSEQUENTLY PROHIBIT THE LOCATION OF A CATEGORY 4 LICENSED FACILITY IN THE MUNICIPALITY.