TOWANDA TOWNSHIP -- Pennsylvania is already a big gambling state and it will soon be bigger. The state is set to open ten mini-casinos. Governor Wolf signed the gambling expansion bill into law as a way to balance the state budget.
If you like to gamble, you've probably been to one of Pennsylvania's 12casinos. And if you do not live near one of them, that could soon change.
In late October, Governor Tom Wolf signed a bill that allows expansion of gambling opportunities in the Keystone State. This includes building ten mini-casinos which will be owned and operated by existing Pennsylvania casino operators.
A mini-casino is defined as a facility with between 300 and 750 slot machines, and fewer than 40 table games. The bill says a mini-casino cannot be located within 25 miles of one of the state's 12 existing casinos.
"People are going to gamble whether we have it or not," Teresa McLinko said.
Towanda Township in Bradford County is one of the municipalities considering allowing a mini-casino. Municipalities in the state must vote by December 31 to decide whether a casino is right for them.
"I'm for the casino. Whatever they want to do they'll do anyway, I think. And people spend their money somehow," Margaret Potter said.
"I think it's a good idea. It brings jobs for people and we certainly could use that," McLinko said.
It was hard to find someone in the Towanda area who is against the idea.
"So much has left the Towanda area. I think anything that would bring business and people back, is a welcome thing," Cheryl Coe said.
The closest casino to Towanda is Tioga Downs in Nichols, New York. It's about 40 minutes away. People tell Newswatch 16 they like the idea of mini-casinos because they won't have to drive as far.
"There's a steady flow of people to the lottery machines anyway. You wouldn't have to drive so far to Tioga Downs," Chamberlain said.
Williamsport was also mentioned as a potential place for a mini casino. The Williamsport City Council has not yet voted on the issue. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board must hold the first auction for one of the mini casino licenses by January 16.