Is the York Galleria Mall right for a mini-casino? Springettsbury Township officials say ‘yes’

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SPRINGETTSBURY TOWNSHIP, YORK COUNTY, Pa. -- Take shopping and add a chance of little gambling, and that's how you get the current situation at York Galleria Mall in York County.

Penn National Gaming confirmed they are looking to put a mini-casino at the York Galleria Mall in Springettsbury Township.

Springettsbury Township is on board with the decision, even voting earlier this year to change zoning in the area to make sure it could work.

What do shoppers and taxpayers have to say?

If there's one thing York Galleria Mall shoppers can agree on - it's this:

"It's pretty dead in there," said Jeff Belz of Springettsbury Township.

"It's a little dead in there. I don't know maybe it'll liven things up a little bit," said Kara Runkle of Springettsbury Township.

There may soon be a mini-casino on the first floor of the mall where the old Sears store used to be.

"It's built. There's plenty of parking. It's an existing structure that can be reused, and we're hoping that this will revitalize the mall, and we'll get new tenants and new development in the area," said Benjamin Marchant, the manager of Springettsbury Township.

Penn National Gaming confirmed its secured the location, and a spokesperson for the York Galleria Mall told us there's no doubt it will help bring a boost after losing Sears and Bonton over the summer.

What about neighbors? What do they think about the idea of gambling being next door?

"It doesn't matter to me, one way or the other, cause I don't do any gambling," added Belz.

"I don't care either way. It's probably going to help with our taxes. It's going to lower the taxes," said Patricia Favorin of Springettsbury Township.

"I really just throw money away. I like to keep it," added Runkle.

Some worry if it will increase traffic on Route 30, but others say that's not a big concern.

"I mean, it took me a half hour to get from one spot, like from Walmart to my house, a half and hour today, and that's just normal traffic so," added Favorin.

State law states a Category 4 mini-casino can have up to 750 slot machines and 30 table games.

As for taxes, the municipality hosting the casino will receive a 2 percent tax revenue from the money brought in by slot machines and one percent from its table games.

The township anticipates that funding.

"We're looking forward to any help we can get," added Marchant.

It's not all set in stone yet; Penn National Gaming still has to apply with the state to put a mini casino here.

Reviewing that application, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, that could take some time

A spokesman for Penn National sent FOX43 this statement, in part: "We believe this location, together with our second category 4 license in Berks County, will provide us a great opportunity to generate new revenues in the commonwealth while protecting our existing market share in Central Pennsylvania."
FOX43 reached out to the Pennsylvania Control Board to see what the application process looks like and how people living in Springettsbury Township can voice their opinion.
"We do a lot of background work, and one of the most important aspects if we will hold a public input hearing in the municipality to collect input, whether it's for or against, with citizens, organizations, and government officials, we'll announce that sometime in the near future," said Doug Harbach, communications director for Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
Penn National Gamining won its bid for a mini-casino within 15 miles of Yoe Borough. Penn National also owns Hollywood Casino in Dauphin County.  A spokesman for Penn National says they hope to file their application with the state on September 12th.
A spokeswoman for the York Galleria Mall sent FOX43 this statement: "We are in discussions with Penn National Gaming, and have an option agreement in place to locate a satellite casino on the lower level of the former Sears store at York Galleria.  If approved, this new casino will spur significant economic growth for the region, generating substantial tax revenue and creating hundreds of jobs. This addition would also be a boon to the entire property, driving additional traffic and sales."
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