State lawmakers urges more transparency in casino selection process

It’s been a long, hard road since SugarHouse was awarded its gaming license on Dec. 20, 2006, but the casino finally opened Thursday.

A state lawmaker from Philadelphia is urging the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to have more transparency in selecting the city’s second casino.

State Sen. Larry Farnese represents the First Senatorial District, which contains all six proposed sites submitted to the board last week. He sent a letter to the gaming board on Monday, calling for a more public process than in 2006 when the licenses were first awarded to SugarHouse and Foxwoods.

After several delays, the board finally revoked the license from Foxwoods last year – the first time such a move has been made.

“I believe that SugarHouse could be even more successful, and a second casino already in operation, had there been a more thorough and open process in 2006,” Farnese noted.

To avoid further controversy, Farnese called for a minimum of three public input hearings for the public, community groups and elected officials to testify without having to pre-register; placement of all proposals and related information on the board’s website at least 15 days before public testimony; keeping the public comment period open until all evidence has been submitted; and notifying all affected state and local elected officials of hearings and deadlines in advance.

Gaming board officials had already promised to put the full applications online and schedule multiple public hearings. The board is expected to take up to a year before making a final decision.


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