SHIPPENSBURG– A public hearing at the Luhrs Center in Shippensburg yesterday afternoon for a proposed casino project saw about 100 people in attendance and a lot of them were against the project.
Parx Casino, a gambling facility owned and operated by Greenwood Racing Inc., located north of center city Philadelphia, has been in talks for a while to bring a casino to the old Lowes Complex on Conestoga Drive in Shippensburg.
The township supervisors have approved it. The casino complied with all the variances and ordinances.
The last step was the public hearing and the Pennsylvania Gaming Board will issue the license.
The question remains: was the opposition yesterday enough to stop it?
Attorney Clint Barkdoll, Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen discussed the casino this morning on First News.
Barkdoll pointed out, “There have been about a dozen other of these small casino projects around Pennsylvania and every one of those that has happened, they’ve had public hearings and the gaming board has heard the exact same concerns every time. And not one of them got denied. They’ve only denied one license in the history of doing this and it was because of financial concerns for the operator of the casino, not on public concerns.”
The gaming board did listen to the testimony and the evidence provided yesterday and will likely make a final vote sometime in the early fall.
“I think they’re going to approve this,” Barkdoll said. “They may put some conditions on the casino regarding its hours of operation or noise or when certain events can occur. I certainly commend all of the people that showed up there and the people that are speaking against it. I’m not trying to minimize any of their concerns. I just think if you look at the history of how this board has considered these projects, the concerns are not going to be enough to sink it.”
Ryan wondered why it would take that long to get final approval? Early fall seems like an awful long time.
“I agree,” Barkdoll said. “The board said that is likely when they would give the final approval. Parx said despite that, they plan to be open sometime in 2022, so this would be a very quick project once the dirt starts getting moved and they start construction. I think there’s just so much red tape when you’re talking about a gaming operation. It seems to me that a gaming board can turn around in a few weeks and approve this, but for whatever reason they need a few months. They’ll issue some kind of not only a decision, but an order and maybe an opinion attached to that that sets forth what, if any, conditions or restrictions are going to be tied to this project.”