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 November 02, 2016 - Penn National Gaming, Inc. and the Dauphin County Commissioners reach agreement to ensure money for vital projects and services continues through first half of 2017

HARRISBURG, PA (November 2, 2016) – The Dauphin County Commissioners today praised Penn National Gaming, Inc. and Hollywood Casino at Penn National’s leadership for agreeing to fund at least half of 2017’s local share funding – roughly $6.5 million – in the wake of a September state Supreme Court ruling. 

While the Memorandum of Understanding with Hollywood Casino expires June 30, it anticipates an extension for the entire year should state lawmakers fail to fix the revenue sharing section of Pennsylvania’s Gaming Act overturned by the court.

“Penn National Gaming is a truly a good corporate citizen in every sense of the word,’’ said county Commission Chairman Jeff Haste. “The company realizes how important this money is to fund everything from police equipment and firefighting equipment to homeless shelters.’’

In its Sept. 28 ruling, the high court stayed its decision for 120 days – until Jan. 26 – meaning the estimated $13 million for the 2016-17 local share funding is not expected to be in jeopardy. The commissioners are moving forward in anticipation the money for the approved projects and services will be released, following public hearings, in February as normal.

“Hollywood Casino’s generosity is giving our communities breathing room, but it’s imperative that lawmakers work together for a permanent solution,’’ Haste said. “These funds are used to address needs in our communities – needs that otherwise would go unmet or be paid for through increased local property taxes.’’

“We appreciate the pressures Hollywood Casino is facing from competitors just over our state lines and we’re grateful their leadership is committed to doing what it can to help our region,’’ said Commissioner Mike Pries. “They realize that maintaining a vibrant, healthy community is critical to drawing tourists and other visitors to our area.

This is the ninth year the county is using local share dollars to help the community. Last year, needs funded through local share dollars included $37,083 for six Steelton firefighter air packs, $177,000 for a water line extension in Londonderry Township and $25,000 toward the purchase of a handicapped accessible van for the M.A. Novosel Vietnam Vets of America in Swatara Township.

“Casino revenue sharing gives us the opportunity to ease the financial burden on our residents while maintaining the services they need,’’ said Commissioner George P. Hartwick, III. “The money we receive from Hollywood Casino makes a real difference in people’s lives.’’

In many cases, gaming dollars are used to leverage more funding. Since 2015, projects funded through money received from the Hollywood Casino have attracted $263 million in additional funding and more than 4,000 permanent or construction jobs.

Project requests are initially reviewed by the five-member Dauphin County Gaming Advisory Board (GAB), which was created by the commissioners when local share money first became available. In addition to reviewing projects in a fair and open process, the board is responsible for tracking ongoing work to ensure the money is used as intended.

September’s state Supreme Court ruling overturning the casino revenue-sharing program came after a challenge by the owner of the Mount Airy Casino & Resort in Monroe County. 

Category: Dauphin County
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