Planned Mini-Casino in PA Will Create 500 Jobs and State Revenue
At a public hearing held Tuesday, Mount Airy Casino Resort officials talked about their plans to open a mini-casino in northern Beaver County. Officials say the development site, which is 300 miles away from the full-sized Mount Airy casino in the Poconos and 35 miles north of Pittsburgh, will host a mini-casino with 30 table games and 750 slot machines and create 500 jobs.
The Public Hearing
About 125 people attended the hearing, which was held at the Big Beaver Fire Station. A few of the locals had concerns about the mini-casino disturbing the area’s rural quiet atmosphere, and some even criticized the government for relying on vices for tax revenue. Otherwise, most of the other attendees seemed to support the proposal.
If Mount Airy wins approval from Big Beaver officials and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board in early 2019, reps say they would begin construction. This would take 16 months and employ 250 workers to build the 103,000-square-foot Category 4 casino that would employ 500 workers. The casino would offer slots and table games, a buffet and food court, and bars all on one single floor. There will also be parking for 1,200 cars and 62 recreational vehicles and buses. Casino officials say that a subsequent development phase might add a convention center and hotel.
Benefits to the Community
Beaver County will get a portion of the revenue generated by the mini-casino via grants for economic development projects. Big Beaver will receive a portion of the mini-casino’s revenue to help support the operational budget.
Support for the Casino
Republican state Representative Jim Marshall was just one of several public officials offering support at the meeting. During the two-hour hearing he said:
“I am certain they will build an outstanding facility. Our community stands to benefit from this economic growth opportunity.”
The chairman of the Beaver County Commissioners had nothing but praise for Mount Airy as a family-owned business due to its support of local community endeavors and charitable projects. Of the project, he said, “I’m confident this will be a destination that catalyzes more development.”
Other officials from the Beaver County Building and Construction Trades Council and from the Community College of Beaver County were also there to lend their support and positive testimony.
Beaver County Commissioners Chairman Daniel Camp says the mini-casino will benefit the whole regions:
“I just believe that for this northern part of Beaver County and for southern Lawrence, this is something that can grow and be an economic boon for all of us.”
Mr. Camp said he was impressed by his visit to the Mount Airy casino in Monroe County, and added that he hasn’t heard any dissent to the idea of adding a casino the the area:
“Hopefully, they’re going to build a facility that’s going to draw people to Beaver County in a way that we benefit not only from the tax dollars, but just from people coming here to see what we have to offer. It’s almost a segue to get to Beaver County.”
Dissention Against the Casino
One audience member, Ronald Montgomery, was the man who criticized government officials for relying on vice and for falling for economic promises that wouldn’t be honored:
“I’m waiting for them to open up a brothel. Everybody’s a dreamer – what they’re telling you and what you get is never the same.”
Stuart Day, another critic, is from the nearby town New Galilee. He said that he came to the area from Pittsburgh a year ago because of the serene setting, and this casino would ruin the idyllic setting.
Other Mini-Casino Plans in PA
Mount Airy is only one of five mini-casinos pending in the state, but the second to announce its specific location. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board held another public meeting on Wednesday morning at the Hempfield Municipal Building to discuss another mini-casino planned in the Westmoreland Mall space along Route 30. Stadium Casino LLC is looking for approval for that project.
About Mount Airy Casino Resort
Mount Airy Casino Resort is located in Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania. It offers 188 hotel rooms, a casino with 1,800 slot machines, table games, four restaurants, a nightclub, a fitness center, a meeting space, an 18-hole golf course, and a spa and salon. The casino resort is owned by Louis DeNaples Sr.
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