That sentence was an amendment to the satellite-casino section of the bill, in which lawmakers were able to slip in the following legal jargon, the meaning of which we’ll cover after the quote:
“A category 4 slot machine license may not be located in a sixth-class county which is contiguous to a county that hosts a category 2 licensed facility.”
As we’ve detailed in past articles, the satellite casino portion of the PA gambling expansion bill allowed for up to 10 mini- casinos with considerably fewer slots and table games than non-satellites.
Part of that rule included a 25-mile buffer between all current casinos and future satellites. The idea is that the 25-mile buffer cuts down on competing casinos losing customers to satellites.
The uniquely-worded amendment mentioned earlier takes that casino protection to the next level, but only for Mount Airy. Mount Airy is a Category 2 casino; satellites are Category 4. Moreover, the counties surrounding Mount Airy’s county are considered sixth-class counties.
What do all these categories add up to? Well, all those various designations mean that Mount Airy has a sweetheart deal.
The buffer around the casino is massive and, as the closest PA casino to New York, it guarantees that no satellite will stand in the way of gamblers coming from the Empire State.
Harrisburg mum on who added amendment
Perhaps the greatest mystery in this whole situation is who added the amendment that provide Mount Airy such a clear advantage over other casinos in the state.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette brought up this interesting discussion in an article earlier this month. After pointing out that lawmakers and politicians in the state capitol have stayed silent on who added the amendment.
The paper then went on to point out that the casino’s original owner, Louis DeNaples, sold off his share in the casino “after he was dogged by claims of ties to organized crimes.”
It’s quite a leap to even allude to the fact that the casino’s found had alleged ties to the mob — the implication is that organized crime had something to do with the amendment.
While that theory is certainly far-fetched, it’s not crazy to think that such a sweetheart deal for Mount Airy had to be added at the last second by virtue of more than just a few convincing conversations with the unnamed penman behind the amendment.