From Somerset, PA Daily American newspaper....
Slots hearing to be held at Hidden Valley
By BRIAN SCHROCK
Daily American Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 1, 2006 11:56 PM CST
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will hold 13 days of hearings at nine locations throughout Pennsylvania to consider applications for slot-machine licenses, including one from Seven Springs Mountain Resort.
The resort's hearing will be held May 3 at Hidden Valley Four Seasons Resort in Jefferson Township.
During the hearings, the board will take testimony from the casino applicants, local government officials, community organizations and residents. The hearings are open to the public, although the testimony will be tailored to represent as many views as possible and avoid redundancy, board officials have said.
"We want to encourage as many points of view as possible," board spokesman Nick Hays said. "The best analogy is testimony in a court" of law.
Information gathered at the hearings will become part of the formal record the board considers when deciding which of the proposed facilities to license, board Chairman Tad Decker said in a prepared release.
"Public input will help us determine which proposed facilities will be safe, enjoyable and most profitable for the people of Pennsylvania," Decker said. "We want our applicants to show us and the public at large what they are proposing, and we want to hear from individuals, community organizations and local government groups."
Twenty-five organizations submitted applications for licenses prior to the Dec. 28 deadline, including Seven Springs Mountain Resort and Nemacolin Woodlands in neighboring Fayette County.
State law authorizes the board to issue 14 slot-machine licenses - seven at horse-racing tracks, five standalone facilities, including two in Philadelphia and one in Pittsburgh, and two at existing resorts. If both resorts prove eligible, each should receive a license.
Unlike regular $50 million slot machine licenses, resorts licenses cost $5 million and allow for no more than 500 slots. The resort licenses were added to the gambling bill to allow them to compete with out-of-state facilities such as the Wheeling Island Racetrack and Gaming Center in West Virginia, which boasts a 151-room hotel and 2,400 slots.
If Seven Springs receives a license, the casino would be located apart from other "family-oriented" facilities, officials have said.
"The gaming facility will be an additional amenity to Seven Springs and developed in such a way to maintain the integrity" of the resort, resort spokesman Robert Duppstadt said in a previous interview.
Hays said he doesn't know how long the hearings will be or when the resort licenses will be awarded.
"We don't have a timetable for issuing the category two and category three licenses," he said.
Category two licenses are for standalone sites; category three for resorts.
Those who wish to speak at the hearing must mail a registration form to the board no later than March 6. The forms can be downloaded from the board's Web site, www.pgcb.state.pa.us.
Participation guidelines are also posted on the site under the "Public Input Hearings" button on the home page.
The hearings begin April 5 at Gettysburg College. Other locations include the State Museum in Harrisburg on April 6 and 7; Drexel University in Philadelphia on April 10-12; Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh on April 18 and 19; Gannon University in Erie on April 21; Split Rock Resort in Lake Harmony on April 27; Crowne Plaza Allentown Hotel on April 28; and Holiday Inn Holidome & Conference Center in Uniontown on May 2.
The board will consider a different application or group of applications at each hearing. There is only one hearing scheduled for Seven Springs.