Volpe's Views on the gambling lawsuit
The terms under which Pennsylvania expanded gambling to plug a $2.1billion deficit in a budget that was months late has hit a roadblock in a Federal lawsuit by Penn National Gaming, alleging that the law leaves it in a far worse competitive position than all other existing state-licensed casinos.
The law's creation of a 25-mile protection zone around the 12 existing casinos, is meant to provide a buffer against any new competition, the suit says. But the suit also specifies that first-generation casinos are clustered in densely populated areas like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Casinos there benefit from an overlapping "super buffer" that, in fact, affords them much larger barriers.
The suit also points to special treatment afforded to Mount Airy Casino in Monroe County which, at the last minute, received a special exclusion baring new casinos from three adjacent counties.
In the wake of the lawsuit, a revenue shortfall is a likelihood and another budget delay can be anticipated unless, of course, the legislature ops to amend the legislation that expanded gambling in the first place.