Mini-casino controversy continues in Hellam Township

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Will a mini-casino open in York County? That is still to be determined by the Penn National ownership.

Some people at the board of supervisors meeting Thursday night in Hellam Township says the answer is clear.

“No one wins except for a casino when a casino goes in,” said one concerned citizen.

Some people at the packed meeting say they only found out about the possibility of a mini-casino coming to Hellam Township this week.

“No one even knew this was an idea to our township, we had no idea of the word ‘casino’ to come about,” said Laurie Lehman of Hellam Township.

Board members say it was listed on their website and on the sign in front of the township building.

They think a mini-casino would be an asset to the community.

“We believe it’s going to bring over 300 jobs according to Penn national, it’s going to revitalize the community…” said Galen Weibley, township supervisor.

It also could help fund the fire department.

But some worry it will also bring crime to the York County community.

“Are we really going to bring in that much revenue? Or are we going to break down households and families. People who are poor and indigent and hoping to make it big, and we know that’s a lie,” said another concerned citizen.

Board members, though, argue the good outweighs the bad, and promises the safety of the public is their number one priority.

Responding to those saying a casino “preys” on the vulnerable, by arguing adults are capable of making adult decisions.

“What if a farmer wanted to grow tobacco? Should we stop him? What if there’s a winery? What if there is somebody that wants to grow hops for beer? Are we going to oppose all those activities because they can lead to moral decay?” said Mark Myers with the Board of Supervisors.

Penn National has until July 10th to decide of the casino will be built in Hellam Township or another municipality instead.

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