Penn National Proceeds With Pennsylvania Mini-Casinos
Penn National Gaming announced it will open its first mini-casino in a former Sears department store at the York Galleria mall in Springettsbury Township, Pennsylvania. Penn National Senior Vice President Eric Schippers confirmed the company recently filed an application for a gaming license with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board for a Category 4 satellite casino. “We believe this location, together with our second Category 4 license in Berks County, will provide us a great opportunity to generate new revenues in the commonwealth while protecting our existing market share in central Pennsylvania,” Schippers said.
Penn National Chief Executive Officer Timothy J. Wilmott stated, “We believe the York Galleria Mall, which is a well-known retail destination in York County, is an ideal site for our planned Hollywood Casino York. We explored numerous other potential opportunities within York County, but the mall’s convenient location, existing infrastructure and ample parking, as well as the support of Springettsbury Township officials and the local business community, helped cement our decision.”
Springettsbury Township Manager Ben Marchant added, “On the whole, the board of supervisors will be pleased to hear this news. It’s an encouraging development. We’re hoping it’s a catalyst for further revitalization of the Galleria mall.”
Schippers said the location of the Berks County mini-casino has been narrowed down to one of two sites in the Morgantown area. Either location would offer easy access to the Pennsylvania Turnpike and Interstate 176 for gamblers from Philadelphia, Reading and central Pennsylvania.
Legislation approving 10 new mini-casinos passed in 2017. Penn National, which owns Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course near Harrisburg, and the owners of the state’s other 12 casinos, were allowed to bid on the licenses; five were sold for $127 million, with Penn National submitting the winning bid of $50 million for the York County facility. The gaming ended the auctions after the first five were awarded since no bids were submitted at the last auction.
Hollywood Casino York at first will offer 500 slot machines and 20 table games; it could eventually offer 750 slots and 40 table games. Regular casinos are allowed to offer up to 5,000 slot machines and at least 250 table games. The property also will feature a casual dining restaurant and sports bar, entertainment lounge and a “grab-and-go” eatery. Officials said they’ll invest $120 million in the property, which includes the $52.6 million license fee. The project is expected to be completed within 12-18 months.
In July, dozens of Springettsbury Township residents showed up at a public hearing to oppose zoning amendments allowing operating and locating a casino legally in the municipality.
Stadium Casino LLC also is planning a mini-casino at Westmoreland Mall in Hempfield, in a former Bon-Ton department store. The company paid $40.1 million for a mini-casino license. Officials said the 100,000 square foot facility will have 750 slots and up to 40 table games and provide 600 jobs.