Carlisle Borough Council joined a number of Cumberland County municipalities Thursday in passing a resolution to opt out of allowing a casino to be built in the borough.
Dawn Flower-Webb, Perry Heath, Tim Scott and Sean Shultz voted in favor of the resolution with Sean Crampsie and Robin Guido voting against.
Carlisle joins Cooke Township, Dickinson Township, Hampden Township, Mechanicsburg, Newburg, Newville, North Newton Township and Penn Township, which had all reported their decisions to opt out to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
The list on the board’s website is updated each Monday.
The Mount Holly Springs council voted against allowing a minicasino on Monday night and South Middleton Township voted against it Thursday night.
Donald Kaufman of Carlisle urged the council to pass the resolution, saying there was already ample opportunity for gambling in the borough and that it is not a good idea as a public policy issue.
“I think that gambling, a minicasino in our small borough would be adverse and deleterious to its character,” Kaufman said.
Citing potential revenue streams, Guido asked her fellow council members to keep their options open. It may be possible to place a casino in an area where it could fit in without disturbing the downtown or the traffic flow, she said.
“Obviously, the money that would come in would vary on the size and success of the casino that might possibly come,” she said.
Crampsie echoed Guido’s comments, saying the legislation is a tool for local government to gain revenue.
“I don’t know if it’s beneficial to us to close a door before it’s even open,” Crampsie said.
Those revenues could be offset by additional costs for police officers or services that are required by a casino, Shultz said.
He also cited a “grave concern” that the borough may not have control over where a potential casino would be located. There is case law that suggests decisions by the Gaming Control Board may preempt any zoning decisions by the borough, which is a “troubling” thought because of the significant impact a facility could have in an area.
Opt in later
Heath said he would rather be able to plan effectively and understand the consequences by giving the issue more investigation.
“We are losing no opportunity by opting out right now. We are reserved the right to opt in at any future time, but we can not opt out at any future time,” he said.
Signed by Gov. Tom Wolf on Oct. 30, Act 42 gives officials until the end of the year to pass a resolution informing the gaming control board that the municipality wishes to prohibit the siting of a Category 4, or minicasino, in its municipality.
These casinos would have a minimum of 300 to a maximum of 750 slot machines, and could include up to 40 table games.