During the hearing, the PGCB commissioners made no mention of the State College community's opposition to the casino. Additionally, statements and inferences by Mr. Lubert's team to the effect that the State College community and our local area leaders were strongly in support of the casino were allowed to go into the record unchallenged. (Information identifying and refuting these false narratives is available here and here.)
This website was originally created to document the State College community's opposition to the development of the casino, and it is being maintained to provide a public record of the casino opposition feedback that the PGCB received and dismissed.
Many people in the State College community now believe that the PGCB has been thoroughly captured by the gambling interests that it is supposed to regulate. Our community had no one in the PGCB's 1/25/2023 hearing to represent us -- precisely because the PGCB closed the public comment period 7 months earlier, they ignored the comments that were submitted before then, and they refused to allow public comment at the 1/25/2023 meeting.
It is still possible for Mr. Lubert's competitor to appeal the PGCB's granting of the casino's license to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and we do not believe the license can be issued until the appeal process has been completed. It is also possible that the Commonwealth Court will overturn the PGCB's granting of the license as a result of the parallel court case that is still ongoing.
However, if the casino's development does move forward, Mr. Lubert's team reports that construction of the casino is expected to take about 12 months.
We encourage everyone in our community to remain positive and to continue to work for the good of your neighbors. We will now need to support each other and those in our community who will be harmed by the casino more than ever before. Also, our leaders who have led us to this juncture will only reform their ways or be replaced by others who will actually seek the welfare of our community if we remain engaged.
Additionally, we encourage you to join Stop Predatory Gambling to help limit the further expansion of exploitative gambling throughout the United States and to support efforts to eventually roll back the damage that is currently being done. We were not able to win the fight on 1/25/2023 because the deck was stacked against us from the outset, but we can still work to change the conditions so that future battles can be won.
The PGCB accepted public feedback regarding this casino proposal by e-mail at email@example.com until Sunday, June 12th, 2022 at 5:00 pm. A total of 1,023 messages opposing the casino were submitted directly to the PGCB before the feedback deadline. An additional 575 messages were recorded via the online petition opposing the casino and also submitted before the deadline. Additionally, online and hard-copy petitions opposing the casino were both submitted before the deadline including signatures from at least 3,300 distinct individuals who would be negatively impacted by the casino. Across all of these sources, a total of 4,898 messages of all types were submitted in opposition to the casino, whereas only 115 messages of all types were submitted in support of the project.
PGCB representative Doug Harbach previously noted that not all casino licenses get approved. He indicated that the PGCB would review all of the community feedback that is sent in about the Nittany Mall Casino very closely to determine not only what is in the best interest of the Commonwealth, but also what is in the best interests of our community (see this WPSU program on gambling in Pennsylvania between 27:25-28:30 for more details). We now know that the PGCB both failed to mention any of the public feedback opposing the casino that was submitted to it at the final public hearing before awarding the license for the Nittany Mall Casino to Ira Lubert, and also that they failed to correct misstatements in that hearing about the level of community support for the proposed casino that actually exists.
All of the feedback that has been submitted to the PGCB is available for public review on College Township's Casino Information Page under the "PA Gaming Control Board" tab. There are also hundreds of additional comments opposing the casino that were submitted directly to the College Township Council available for public review under the "College Township" tab of the Casino Information Page.
The summary petition documents are available here:
E-mail Updates: If you would like to receive e-mail updates about ways you can help our community's efforts to mitigate the damage that will be caused by the Nittany Mall Casino, please sign the online petition opposing the casino and select the option to receive e-mail updates
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Past Letters to the Editor Opposing the Casino:
Many prominent organizations that promote "responsible gambling" are actually funded by the gambling industry itself, and these organizations serve as a controlled opposition that allows the gambling industry to control the narrative on both sides of gambling-related issues. These groups often work to delay, dilute, or prevent reforms that would effectively protect the public from the addictive products that the gambling industry sells because such reforms would reduce the gambling industry's profits.
The following organizations are not funded by the gambling industry, and we believe the reforms these organizations are proposing would be more effective in protecting the public from the harms caused by the addictive products that the gambling industry sells: