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No dice at Gettysburg: after 20 months of debate, Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board makes the right decision regarding casino proposal.

In 2004, when Pennsylvania's state legislature expanded legalized gambling to include slot casinos, investors began eyeing property on the outskirts of Gettysburg, where tourists already gather in great numbers, and residents of nearby Maryland might be tempted to cross the border and try their luck.

But community groups and history buffs were horrified by the notion of a casino within cannon shot of the battlefield where thousands of men gave their lives. The National Parks Conservation Association joined the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Civil War Preservation Trust, along with local groups No Casino Gettysburg and Preservation Pennsylvania to put an end to it.

The 5,000-slot casino would have included restaurants, bars, and a 225-room hotel on a 58-acre site in Adams County. Polls revealed that nearly two-thirds of Pennsylvania voters were opposed to the idea, and more than half considered the proposal an embarrassment to the commonwealth. But in spite of the opposition, investors were able to gain enough leverage to keep the idea alive for more than a year. Finally, in December 2006, the state denied the application, instead awarding the two licenses to locations in the Poconos and Lehigh Valley. The board noted that one of its reasons for denying the application was strong opposition to this location as evidenced by public hearings.

"We commend the control board's decision to deny the application for a license to build a casino in the shadow of Gettysburg National Military Park," said NPCA Pennsylvania Program Manager Cinda Waldbuesser. "The board clearly understands that a casino would be at odds with the family-friendly atmosphere of the town, its unique character, and the memory of all those who fought during the battle."--Scott Kirkwood
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Author:Kirkwood, Scott
Publication:National Parks
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1U2PA
Date:Mar 22, 2007
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