Casino operators in Pennsylvania have reportedly filed a lawsuit over the expanding gaming legislation in the state, that Democratic Governor Tom Wolf signed as part of an effort to fill a budget deficit. The Sands Bethlehem Casino Resort filed suit in the state Supreme Court last month and the operator of Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, filed a federal lawsuit alleging the nascent law will corrode their businesses.
In the lawsuit, Penn National Gaming said that provisions allowing 10 more mini-casinos would cause “significant and unique” harm to its suburban Harrisburg casino. Penn National said that the law, passed in October, effectively allows competing casino owners to use the new mini-casinos to pick off its relatively far-flung customer base, while the protections in the law are far more adequate for the rest of Pennsylvania’s casino owners.
“There was no rational basis for this arbitrary and inequitable treatment of (Penn National), which violated (its) constitutional rights in multiple ways,” the 57-page lawsuit said.
It said the bill violates its constitutional rights to equal protection and due process, as well as Pennsylvania’s constitutional prohibitions over legislation that benefits a particular person or entity.
The bill became law just two months ago with the expectation that the new mini-casino licenses would generate hundreds of millions of dollars for the financially struggling state. Lawmakers also considered additional legislation that allows gambling at trucks stops and airports.
A provision in the legislation allows local municipalities home to a casino to opt out of the expansion, leading to calls around the state by local lawmakers to do just that.