With a resolution passed in December, the borough of Kutztown has joined over 1,000 additional municipalities statewide banning “Category 4” casinos, commonly referred to as “mini-casinos.”
10 licenses for the casinos, which would operate between 300 and 750 slot machines, were created in October, with the passing of House Bill 271, amending the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act. The licenses will be auctioned off by the state Gaming Control Board throughout 2018.
Passed along with the law was a “Municipal Option,” allowing boroughs, townships, and cities to prohibit the placement of such a facility within their borders. Municipalities had to pass a resolution by the end of the 2017 calendar year.
At their Dec. 19 council meeting, Kutztown passed such a resolution, joining 37 other municipalities in Berks County that have done the same.
“The Borough Council did not feel as though a casino that could hold 300 to 750 slot machines and 50 gaming tables would be a good fit for our municipality,” said Council President Kevin Snyder.
However, according to a map released by the Gaming Control Board, the placement of a category 4 casino within the borough of Kutztown would most likely be prohibited, regardless of borough council’s action.
According to a notice released by the Gaming Control Board, “no Category 4 location could be located within 25 linear miles of an existing Category 1 (race track), 2 (stand-alone) or 3 (resort) casino facility, with the exception that the operator of a Category 1, 2 or 3 casino facility may locate a Category 4 casino within 25 miles of its own Category 1, 2 or 3 casino facility.”
Kutztown is within a 25-mile radius of Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, Northampton County, which is owned by Las Vegas Sands Corp.
Also among municipalities banning Category 4 Casinos were Fleetwood, Richmond Township, and Greenwich Township. Maxatawny Township, Topton, Lyons, and Longswamp Township did not prohibit the facilities.
As of the writing of this article, one category 4 casino license had been auctioned off, purchased by Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing Association LLC, of Wyomissing, for $50.1 million. The company intends to use the license to build a casino in York County.