Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course celebrated its 5 year anniversary this week. Many worried that the addition of a casino would increase crime and cost money. However, law enforcement, business owners, constituents, and industry professionals agree the casino has brought multiple benefits to their community (watch the full WGAL broadcast here).
The casino has generated $29 million in gaming taxes for the county. Dauphin County Commissioner George Hartwich sees the casino as “a great community partner.” Since the first slots, Dauphin County has received approximately $2 million from local share gaming taxes, and East Hanover Township, which hosts the casino, has received around $14 million. The revenues go toward public safety, infrastructure, and economic development projects with little to no cost to taxpayers.
When asked if crime has been affected, Trooper Adam Reed, Pennsylvania State Police, said: “over the past two years it’s known to be quite a large decrease in crimes reported there.” Additionally, numbers coming into the state’s gambling helpline have declined over the five year period according to the state Department of Health. In 2012 the numbers dropped by a third compared to 2011.
Even small business owners benefit from the increased clientele the casino draws. “For me as a business owner, it’s good,” says one local pizza shop owner.
Casinos contribute large sums to host communities and surrounding areas. They benefit local and state tax revenues, fund infrastructure and schools, support local businesses, and have no direct impact on crime. Texas could receive the same benefits as Hollywood Casino in Dauphin County provides if the state expands gaming.