In Pennsylvania, Monday reportedly saw leaders for the city of Reading unanimously endorse a motion urging the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board regulator to select its community as a home for one of the state’s coming satellite casinos.
According to a report from local television broadcaster WFMZ-TV, the approval from the Reading City Council came after first-term mayor Wally Scott voiced his support. The Democratic leader simultaneously purportedly warned that the move does not guarantee that a casino will definitely be coming to the Berks County city of approximately 87,500 people.
In an effort to raise additional funds to help fill an over $2 billion annual budget deficit, October saw Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf approve wide-ranging gaming legislation that permits the eastern state to license a maximum of ten new satellite casinos offering up to 750 slots alongside 30 gaming tables. But, the move was not universally popular and municipalities were given until the end of the year to officially opt out of the possibility of hosting one of the coming venues, which is something some 201 communities including six in Berks County have reportedly already done.
“With gambling facilities, there are always negatives but the positives far outweigh them,” John Slifko, a Republican member of the Reading City Council, reportedly told WFMZ-TV. “This is an opportunity to help with the revitalization of downtown. Gambling is going to go somewhere; we might as well have it here and reap some of the good aspects.”
Scott reportedly told the broadcaster that two unidentified individuals had already enquired about the possibility of bringing a casino to Reading and had been particularly interested in a pair of downtown sites along Penn Street.
Reading is the fifth largest city in Pennsylvania but its closest casino, the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, is located some 48 miles to the west in Dauphin County while the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem from operator Las Vegas Sands Corporation sits just over 49 miles to the east in Northampton County.
“We are in full support of this,” Jeffrey Waltman Sr, a Democratic member of the Reading City Council, reportedly told WFMZ-TV. “Our message is ‘take a very close look at us because we’re here to support the effort’.”