The possibility of a mini-casino going live in York County is still dependent on the choice that will be made by Penn National. There has, however, been a ton of controversy surrounding what the residents of the Hellam Township consider to be surreal.
“No one wins except for a casino when a casino goes in,” a concerned citizen of Hellam Township said.
The issue first came up in mid-May in a board of supervisors meeting where most of the attendees said that they had only found out about the possibility of a mini-casino coming to the township that week. The board members countered by stating that the announcement had been listed on their website as well as on the sign in front of the township building – as it turns, the board is in favor of the idea of a mini-casino in Hellam Township because they believe that such an initiative would be an asset to the community.
“We believe it’s going to bring over 300 jobs according to Penn national, it’s going to revitalize the community…,” said Galen Weibley, the Hellam Township supervisor, and board president.
In addition to this, the board also believes that the mini-casino will help the fire department.
The Residents Are Still Not Buying It
One of the biggest concerns from the May meeting was that a mini-casino would contribute to crime in the York County community.
“Are we really going to bring in that much revenue? Or are we going to break down households and families? People who are poor and indigent and hoping to make it big, and we know that’s a lie,” one of the concerned citizens pointed out.
Despite the board’s efforts to outline how the benefits will eventually outweigh the bad, many of the residents will hear nothing of the idea. Joshua Kolkow, a resident of Hellam Township who grew up in a casino town in Arizona, says that the influx of people will contribute to more traffic with more drivers driving under the influence. He also believes that bringing a mini-casino to the township will bring property value down. Kolkow was one of the residents who spoke out against the casino with some wearing T-shirts with a “no” symbol over the word casino.
The casino operator in question, Penn National Gaming Inc. is considering setting up the mini-casino at a site off the Wrightsville exit of Route 30. Initially, the township had opted out of allowing the mini-casino to be set up but this decision was reversed by the board last month.
As such, Galen Weibley, the board president has made it clear that the township cannot prohibit Penn National from setting up the mini-casino. The residents’ only option now is to contact the gaming operator and air their views on the issue.