Tucked in Pa. gaming bill: A million-dollar clause for Mount Airy Casino – Philly.com

HARRISBURG — In a last-minute maneuver before the state Senate last month passed a sweeping expansion of casino gambling in Pennsylvania, lawmakers added a 28-word amendment, cloaked in legalese.

“A category 4 slot machine license may not be located in a sixth-class county which is contiguous to a county that hosts a category 2 licensed facility,” said the phrasing, tucked halfway into the 939-page bill.

Pennsylvania has 12 casinos. But that single sentence could be worth millions of dollars to one: Mount Airy Casino Resort.

The bill paved the way for so-called mini-casinos to open around the state, requiring only that they be at least 25 miles from one of the larger, established gambling halls. The amendment nearly triples that buffer zone for the Monroe County casino, barring mini-casinos from contiguous Carbon, Pike, and Wayne Counties.

More important, it guarantees that the Mount Pocono destination remains the closest and most accessible casino for the thousands of New Yorkers who flock each week to the commonwealth to gamble.

A Protection Zone for a Casino When Pennsylvania’s legislature expanded gambling last month, a proposal was amended at the last minute that gives the Mount Airy Casino  Resort an unusually large protective area barring any competitive gaming halls. The pertinent language reads: “A Category 4 slot machine license may not be located in a sixth class county which is contiguous to a county that hosts a Category 2 licensed facility.” The language provided the extra protective area to Mount Airy, which is a Category 2 casino. Its county is touched by three sixth-class counties: Wayne, Pike, and Carbon. Under the new law, a new mini-casino — a Category 4 facility — may not be built anywhere in those three counties. This is on top of the protection granted all casinos, barring

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