HARRISBURG -- The state Gaming Control Board's decision to revoke a Philadelphia developer's casino license led Gov. Ed Rendell today to speculate, in a general fashion, about the possibility of putting a casino in an area bounded by Johnstown, Altoona and State College.
In an unusual action, gaming regulators last week revoked the casino license they'd given four years ago for a proposed casino called Foxwoods, when its developers couldn't generate the $400 million they needed to build the casino in south Philadelphia.
The state's gaming law, as now written, requires that slots license to still be awarded for a second casino in Philadelphia -- in addition to the SugarHouse Casino that is now operating there.
But if state law were changed, the second Philly gaming license could be moved to some other area of the state. Mr. Rendell noted that southeastern Pennsylvania already has four casinos -- SugarHouse, plus racetrack/casinos in Delaware and Bucks counties, plus a smaller "resort casino'' not yet opened near Valley Forge -- so maybe a saturation point has been reached.
He said the only other area of the state with significant population and currently without a casino is the area around Johnstown, Altoona and State College. He added, however, he didn't know if the current population numbers would justify such a major entertainment project in that area.
State Sen. John Wozniak, D-Cambria, has in the past pushed for a casino near Johnstown.
The only other full-sized casino allowed by law but still unbuilt is a racetrack/casino proposed west of New Castle in Lawrence County. Four groups are competing for that "resort casino,'' which is limited to 600 slots and 50 table games.