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Will a casino next door be boon or bust? Folks around Adamstown are of 2 minds | Local News

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Will a casino next door be boon or bust? Folks around Adamstown are of 2 minds | Local News

If a minicasino opens a few miles from his home in Denver, Alexander Marulanda, 38, sees himself going every weekend. But not Lloyd Hertzog. Also from Denver, Hertzog, 71, considers casinos losing propositions.

In northern Lancaster County, residents have a range of reactions to Penn National Gaming opening a minicasino nearby. It could be in Reading or southern Berks County, possibly near the county line.

Some see jobs, economic opportunity and a fun time out. Others think a casino crowd could bring crime, or they oppose gambling on principle.

In winning a minicasino license Wednesday with a $7.5-million bid, Penn National says it looks forward to drawing patrons from Lancaster County and the Philadelphia suburbs at a site still to be determined.

Penn National put West Cocalico Township at the center of a geographic circle, 30 miles in diameter, where it would seek a site for the minicasino.

But because every Lancaster County municipality has opted out of hosting a casino, Penn National is limited to sites in southwestern Berks County and southeastern Lebanon County.

750 slot machines

Penn National has six months to apply with a specific site to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. The minicasino will be allowed to operate up to 750 slot machines and 40 table games.

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Alexander Marulanda of Denver, Pennsylvania. JEFF HAWKES | Staff Writer

“It would be great to have a casino in the Lancaster area,” Marulanda said. “Good food, good drinks. I’d probably go every weekend.”

“We would go, I’m sure,” said Kendell Bartholomew, 32, a Denver resident who patronizes Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Grantville, Dauphin County, about once a year. “It would be closer.”

But Joanne Kurtz, 66, of Adamstown, said traffic and people drinking are downsides to a casino.

And Hertzog pointed out that gambling hurts people who can’t afford to lose money. He said there are better ways to reduce school property taxes than through expanded gaming.

Property tax relief

The state rakes in 50 percent of every casino’s gross revenue from slot machines. About a third of that revenue provides direct property tax relief to homeowners across Pennsylvania.

In addition, the host county and municipality each get a 2 percent share of the slots tax and a 1 percent share of the tax on table games.

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Sonya Yost of Clay Township, working in Adamstown Area Library. JEFF HAWKES | Staff Writer

“I’d welcome (a casino), especially if it’s going to lower our taxes” and employ local people, Glenda Gantz, 62, of Schoeneck, said. “There’s plenty of jobs advertised in this area, but maybe they’re not the right fit for everybody.”

Sonya Yost, 52, of Clay Township, who works at Adamstown Area Library, agreed that job expansion would help people in northern Lancaster County. She said she’s heard that casinos often give back to the community, too.

“I am for it even though I don’t go to the casinos,” Yost said.

David Kowalchick, 48, owner of Dave’s Diner in Adamstown, thinks a nearby casino could be good for business, and property tax relief would be good for his budget.

“Gambling can be a problem for some people,” Kowalchick said. “That’s the only negative I see. But I think it’s probably more positive than negative. I’m all for it.”

But George, a 57-year-old Adamstown resident who declined to give his last name, disagrees.

“This is a quiet little area,” he said. “We don’t need all the out-of-towners coming in.”

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Lloyd Hertzog of Denver, Pennsylvania. JEFF HAWKES | Staff Writer

Read more http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNFtsHW34FNmkubvx2C7P0NmGWMqVg&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&cid=52779861178215&ei=gzzKWsCRD4PXhgGpoI6gBQ&url=https://lancasteronline.com/news/local/will-a-casino-next-door-be-boon-or-bust-folks/article_52c77f94-39e0-11e8-9ddd-871c3d9c58af.html

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