Casinos Not Viable in Armstrong County, Lawyer Says

Pascal

The debate still rages on whether or not Armstrong County has been excluded from having a mini-casino.

Other medias have reported that State Representative Jeff Pyle said the clause that restricts mini-casinos in a Class 6 county (such as Armstrong County) in the gambling legislation passed last fall does not mean Armstrong County.

Pyle serves as chairman of the Commonwealth’s Gaming Oversight Board. Pyle said he is seeking a definitive answer from the Gaming Control Board that begins awarding licenses today.

Local attorney Chuck Pascal still isn’t convinced. The legislation says that any Class 6 county that is “contiguous” to a Class 2 county (such as Allegheny) is not eligible for a licensee to place a mini-casino in that Class 6 county. Pascal said there is no doubt that precedence has been set for Armstrong County being contiguous with Allegheny County.

Pascal pointed to an article that appeared in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette on June 11, 2003, stating that Armstrong County became part of the Pittsburgh metropolitan statistical area. In the article, then-commissioner Jim Scahill praised the move, which he felt would have monetary and tourism benefits. Scahill is quoted in the article as saying, “How can we touch Allegheny County and not be a part of the central region?”

Pascal said that inclusion in the ten-county Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission was based on the fact that Armstrong County was contiguous to Allegheny County.

“I’m not sure why Pile is saying we are not contiguous when much as been done to prove we are over the years,” Pascal said.

He stated that the Gaming Control Board does not have the ability to overrule legislation that has been passed.

“The Gaming Control Board has the ability to set regulations which interprets legislation, however, when it says something clearly, they can’t change it. To me contiguous is clear. It means a common border. If the borders touch, it is contiguous.”

All eyes are on Harrisburg today for the outcome of the future availability for gaming in Armstrong County.