Video-gaming terminals are not what Philly needs, Council members say –

Just say no. That’s what Philadelphia plans to tell the state when it comes to putting video-gaming terminals and a satellite mini-casino in the city.

Eight City Council members on Thursday supported measures to prohibit these additional gambling opportunities within Philadelphia’s borders. Council will take a final vote next week.

Municipalities across the state have until Dec. 29 to tell the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board whether they want to opt out of a sweeping expansion of casino gambling that became law in October. To date, 201 communities have said no, according to a list on the gaming board’s website.

The law, designed to bring much-needed revenue to the state, permits up to five video-gaming terminals (VGTs) at truck stops, as well as 10 satellite or mini-casinos around the state.

“We want to send a strong message. We don’t want this kind of gaming expansion here in the city of Philadelphia,” said Councilman Bobby Henon, who was joined in the resolutions by Council President Darrell L. Clarke and members Helen Gym, Kenyatta Johnson, Mark Squilla, Brian O’Neill, Cherelle Parker, and Al Taubenberger.

Mayor Kenney endorses their measures. “We share their same concerns,” said his spokeswoman, Lauren Hitt.

“It’s a truck stop now, but it could be local bars or stop-and-gos, which would be in every corner and fabric of our streets,” Henon said.

State law defines a truck stop as having diesel islands for refueling, 50,000 gallons of diesel or biodiesel fuel sold in each of the previous 12 months, a convenience store on at least three acres, and parking spaces for 20 commercial vehicles.

Philadelphia does not have a truck stop that would qualify under the law, Henon said.

The concern is that a gas station could be built out, or the acreage found somewhere

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