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Bally’s facing local opposition to State College casino project

Bally's Pennsylvania casino news

The opposition to Bally’s Corporation’s plan to redevelop the old Macy’s department store in State College, Pennsylvania, into a casino is steadily increasing. The proposed site for the gambling venue is located at the Nittany Mall.

Citizens in Centre County have expressed their concerns over a casino being built so close to Penn State University Park. Opponents of the move have said that gaming halls should be kept far away from places with a considerable concentration of minors.

Pennsylvania’s decision to expand gaming in 2017 resulted in the authorization of activities like Category 4 casinos, retail and online services, iGaming, fantasy football, and video gaming terminals. Municipalities and townships were allowed by the law to exclude themselves from plans where they were considered for Category 4 development. These are more commonly called ‘satellite casinos’ and ‘mini-casinos’.

Due to this, over 1,000 local government areas opted out of casino plans. However, College Township — which is located close to Penn State, home to over 46,000 undergraduates — decided to stay in the bidding pool. The decision is one the College Township Council has previously disclosed contrition over after the local community vocalized its opposition to a gambling venue in Centre County.

Over 5,000 letters were sent to the state during the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s (PGCB) public input period, stating that Bally’s intention to build a casino in the region was not supported.

The opposition was based on several concerns, and the Penn State community has resorted to other means to make its voices heard since the public input period expired. Media outlets covering the news have received a multitude of emails and comments conveying the opposition to the Bally’s State College project.

The state’s gaming control board has pledged to consider the local community’s responses when determining the decision to make concerning Bally’s operating license to allow the company to build a casino in College Township.

College Township’s decision not to pull out of the Category 4 bidding before the August 2019 deadline could cause some issues for the local community. It is not certain if the PGCB will deny the company a gaming license solely because of the public’s opinion.

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