Springettsbury board OKs projects for mini-casino

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch

The Springettsbury Township Board of Supervisors on Thursday approved a redevelopment plan from Penn National, which is looking to bring a mini-casino to the York Galleria mall.

The board's vote ratified things such as proposed signage, landscaping, changes to parking at the mall and a 3,000-square-foot building addition that would contain a stairwell and elevator to the casino. 

Supervisor Justin Tomevi said the board's unanimous vote was a signal that the township is "comfortable with the project moving forward." 

"This isn't anything close to Las Vegas," said Charlie Courtney, of McNees Law Firm, who represented Penn National at Thursday's special meeting. 

Thursday's approvals were the first of several that would be required from the board before Penn National can move forward, officials said. 

Penn National unveiled the design of its Hollywood Casino, on Thursday, Aug. 22.

The state license for the proposed mini-casino in Springettsbury Township was the first approved under Pennsylvania's 2017 expansion of gambling laws, which allows up to 10 permits for Category 4 or  "satellite casinos."

Satellite casinos, more commonly known as mini-casinos, can operate 300 to 750 slot machines and up to 30 table games, according to PA Online Casino.

Penn National selected the Galleria as the site of the first mini-casino in September 2018. The company bid the highest, $50 million, to place a casino in York County.

Although Springettsbury Township supervisors originally did not want to host a mini-casino site, the board later reconsidered. 

Thursday's meeting was packed with residents who voiced questions and concerns for the casino. 

During a public hearing earlier Thursday, Robert White, of Dover, questioned the smoking policies inside the casino. Courtney said 50% of the space would be nonsmoking while the other 50% would permit smoking.

Joyce Troxell, of Springettsbury Township, said she's concerned about traffic the casino might cause.

"I'm disappointed that we have the need for the money from a gambling casino," Troxell said. "I'm not against gambling at all — I just don't want it in my backyard." 

 — Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.