The Mount Joy Borough Council has voted to opt-out on the opportunity to host a gambling casino in the borough under a new state gambling law.
The bill signed by Gov. Tom Wolf on Oct. 30, allows Pennsylvania to expand its casino industry by permitting 10 new mini-casinos to be created in municipalities throughout the state.
However, municipalities have to decide whether a casino is for them. Under the law, a municipality can approve a resolution before Jan. 1 prohibiting one of the new casinos within its borders. It can undo the decision later, but then that’s it — it cannot reconsider.
Local communities hosting the mini-casinos can receive 2 percent of the income derived from slot machines and table games.
After a spirited debate at the council meeting on Monday, Nov. 6, council approved Councilor Jake Smeltz’s motion to direct the borough’s solicitor to draft a resolution rejecting establishment of a mini-casino in the town.
“We ought to be the first in the state to say no. If we think that we are going to grow the economy this way, we are foolhardy,” Smeltz said.
Councilor William Hall disagreed.
“By opting out we don’t stop gambling; we only stop revenue. It’s not a good idea to opt out,” Hall said.
In addition to Smeltz, council members Joshua Deering, Mary Ginder, Jon Millar, Michael Reese, Jake Smeltz and Brian Youngerman voted for the opt-out resolution. Hall voted against it. Charles Glessner and Hans Seidel were absent. The resolution’s final wording will be approved at the Dec. 4 council meeting. Millar and Youngerman encouraged resident feedback on the issue.
In other business, council also voted to modify The Borough Code of Ordinances to limit vehicle weight on North Market Avenue from Main Street to Hill Street to 13 tons (26,000 pounds) and to limit parking on West Main Street at Lemon Street.
Council annual borough budget development meetings are scheduled for both Tuesday, Nov. 14, and Monday, Nov. 20, both at 6:30 p.m.