ABOVE PHOTO: Rosita Youngblood
(Photo credit: State of PA)
HARRISBURG – With the announcement that the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board already has scheduled informational and public input hearings on the six proposals to build a second casino in Philadelphia, state Rep. Rosita C. Youngblood, D-Phila., applauded the state’s efforts to bring transparency, openness and accountability to the process of awarding the Category 2 casino license.
Youngblood said the action by the board to schedule an informational hearing where the six applicants can present their plans in a public forum months before the required public input hearings should be a clear indication that the public will not be kept in the dark about the plans for a new Philadelphia casino.
“The public deserves to know exactly what the proposals are, how it will impact them and what benefits they will see,” Youngblood said. “The board is right on the mark to require applicants to make their case to the public, and doing so a full two months before the public hearings is critical in allowing those interested to have every opportunity to make informed comments on each of the casino plans.”
The board announced that the six applicants will present their proposals beginning at 9 AM Feb. 12 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Then from 9 AM to 9 PM April 11 and from 9 AM to 3:30 PM April 12, the board will hold the public input hearings, also at the Convention Center. Additional days may be added depending on the volume of those seeking to make public comments.
Youngblood said that in March, the board will open up the registration for those interested in testifying at the public input hearings. Also in March, the board will begin accepting written public comment from anyone unable to provide oral testimony.
“As I have said before, it is a great sign that we have six applicants who are all willing to take a risk and invest hundreds of millions of dollars in our city,” Youngblood said. “With this level of competition for one license, it is evident that the city will prosper with two casinos. But we cannot afford to create an environment that could cast doubt or a gray cloud over the development of this casino.
“Pennsylvania has become the model for casino development and regulation across the globe, and I have the utmost confidence that the board will exhaust every resource to ensure integrity and accountability in the process,” she added. “It takes a significant amount of time, sometimes up to a year or so, to fully vet all applicants and ensure they are suitable candidates for licensure. But the key to the process is informing the public and making sure they have all of the information necessary to make their voices heard.”