The Pennsylvania community of Morgantown will hold a March 4 hearing to discuss the application of a “mini casino” in Morgantown, the Reading Eagle reports.
But the Pennsylvania Pastors Network says a casino doesn’t belong in the rural and religious heritage of the Morgantown area, which is a gateway to Amish-dominated Lancaster County, and the conservative western Chester and Southern Berks counties.
“A gambling casino located in Morgantown, Pennsylvania, is about as incongruous as a Planned Parenthood office in the basement of a church or a physician intentionally injecting a healthy patient with tuberculosis,” said PPN President Sam Rohrer, who also serves as president of the American Pastors Network. “These deep cultural values reflected in the work ethic, historic moral standards, committed family life and neighbor-helping-neighbor lifestyles of our community stand in sharp contrast to the nature and results of gambling and the destructive addictions resulting from gambling, as well as the associated by-products of increased alcohol consumption and the frequent degenerating impacts on family life.”
The local culture is now at risk because of the decision of the Caernarvon Township Supervisors to “open the door” to a gambling facility, Rohrer added.
“What would compel the supervisors to encourage such a risk is a clearly unanswered question,” he said. “Why would the supervisors consider the unique nature of this community and the culture of the people who voted for them to be of such little value? Short of promising some elusive tax revenues to citizens of the township, what value to the community do the supervisors offer in exchange for a casino? What cultural value does a major gambling casino contribute to our community? What upstanding values of character, integrity or work ethic does gambling in any form offer to our children? Our families? What upstanding and personally strengthening moral attributes can a gambling facility ever offer a community, and specifically our generally God-fearing culture? There are none.”
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will hold the public hearing at 4 p.m. Monday, March 4, at the Caernarvon Township municipal building’s social hall at 3307 Main Street. The aim will be to collect testimony on the Category 4 casino application submitted by Penn National Gaming Inc. Rohrer, a former Pennsylvania State Representative for the 128th District, plans to be present and testify.
The Wyomissing, Pa.-based Penn National filed an application in October to build Hollywood Casino Morgantown, an 81,425-square-foot mini-casino, on 36 acres near the Pennsylvania Turnpike, Interstate 176 and Route 10.
According to the Reading Eagle, the proposed mini-casino would feature 750 slot machines and 30 tables games, plus room for 10 more table games—the allowable limit Category 4 casinos, which were approved by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 2017.
Those wishing to testify at the hearing must register by noon March 1 at www.gamingcontrolboard.pa.gov and click the “Penn National Casino Berks Public Input Hearing” link under the QuickLinks section of the homepage.
Those who cannot attend and wish to submit written comments can do so via the same web link, by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by fax to 717-265-7416. Mailed comments must be postmarked by March 1 and mailed to PA Gaming Control Board, P.O. Box 69060, Harrisburg PA 17106.
A separate public hearing will be held in Harrisburg at a date to be announced.