Montgomery County is set to receive its first casino, opening in spring this year. With the inauguration of this casino, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has granted and presented the Montgomery County District Attorney Rise Ferman with a $150,000 grant that will be used to help in the effort to stamp out and fight back against illegal gambling operations.
William Ryan Jr., Chairman of the Gaming Control Board has made a statement on this grant. “This is an opportunity because of an appropriation that the (gaming control) board gets from the general assembly to award grants to law enforcement agencies here in Pennsylvania who are willing to deal with the problem of illegal gambling.” He said.
Ryan Jr, also continued, stating that the problems posed by illegal gambling initiatives are creating undesired impacts on the gambling industry and move towards legalised gambling. State lottery and casinos already offer sizable benefits to taxpayers as a result of their large revenues per year and are prompted to promote a stronger and more secure system. Commenting on illegal gambling, Ryan said that “We know it's out there, but it sometimes doesn't get the attention it deserves. Providing these funds will enable Risa and her office to continue an effort against illegal gambling here in Montgomery County.”
“With gambling being legalized, we're looking at all of the different areas where there could be illegal gambling,” said Rise Ferman. She remains adamant that the grant will make a positive impact. “We're mindful of the fact that (illegal gambling activity) is often connected to other criminal activity, so we're trying to look at it as a global picture.”
A majority of the funding received through the grant will be used by the board to investigate anti-illegal gambling measures, provided to investigative personnel who specialise in this prevention area.
“Primarily, the dollars will be used for manpower that can be devoted to these issues,” said Ferman. “The investigators paid with these funds will be looking at the casinos, what's going on in the immediate environment and around the community, and then they can make the assessment of how we can make the most impact.”
Ferman had stated that she and her office are expecting results as their analysis of previous engagements from other establishments will help to prevent any mistakes being made.
“We all know what has happened in other jurisdictions where casinos have opened,” said Ferman. “We want to make sure that the casinos that are in Montgomery County are operating as institutions where people can go have fun and enjoy themselves. We do not want to let organized crime—or any other criminal element—get a foothold inside of our community.”
Whilst the grant of $150,000 is sizable, it was not explained why it was reduced from $250,000 which was given several years ago.
Source: Lower Gwynedd-Ambler-Whitpain Patch