From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette today.
Just as some of us have feared. Gettysburg Borough council is for it.
GETTYSBURG, Pa. -- Gettysburg's borough council voted last night to support a proposed slot-machine gambling parlor near the historic Civil War battlefield in exchange for a $1 million-per-year revenue guarantee.
The prospect of a casino just outside town and near Gettysburg National Military Park has drawn a firestorm of opposition from preservationists and some area residents.
As a result of the 7-3 vote, the council's president will testify in favor of the proposed casino tomorrow at a public hearing. That hearing in Gettysburg will be the first of 18 days of testimony that gambling regulators will hold around the state on nearly two dozen casino proposals.
Opponents of the would-be casino labeled the money a "bribe," but Council President Ted Streeter contended it would help the borough improve its police capabilities and social services to deal with an influx of millions of gamblers and potentially reduce property taxes.
"If that's selling out, I gladly plead guilty," Mr. Streeter told a packed borough meeting hall during more than 90 minutes of debate and public comment.
Council member **** Peterson called the offer of money "too little, too late."
"This attempt to buy our votes will not influence my personal opinion," Mr. Peterson said.
Jeff Ernico, an attorney for the casino applicant, Crossroads Gaming Resort and Spa LP, said the money guarantee is predicated on the borough council's support of its application for a license. Under the agreement, Crossroads will guarantee that Gettysburg gets $1 million annually.
The state's slot-machine gambling law sets aside a 4 percent cut of slots revenue for the host municipality and county. If Gettysburg is unable to get $1 million from that, then Crossroads will make up that difference, Mr. Ernico said.
Crossroads Gaming CEO David LeVan welcomed the council's endorsement as "helpful," but said it wouldn't "make or break the deal."
The site of the proposed casino was of relatively minor importance in the three-day battle that turned the tide of the Civil War -- some Confederate troops gathered there before heading off to fight.
The borough meeting drew dozens of people wearing buttons and T-shirts, and carrying signs in support and opposition of the casino.
As in most things, $$ talks. Those of us who don't have lots of it know that. All is not lost, though. The Pa. Gaming commission won't award the licenses for some time, and there are more venues wanting a casino than licenses to be allowed.
Maybe we can get the Amish to apply for a license?
That was a joke....