Pennsylvania Mini Casinos Progressing
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has issued licenses for five mini-casinos to open across the state. One will be located in Hempfield in Westmoreland County and another in Mount Airy in Beaver County. Originally the gaming board planned to auction off 10 licenses for the smaller casinos but ended the process at five after no bids were received at the spring auction.
Stadium Casino LLC paid $40.1 million for the Hempfield casino license. The venue would be located in a former department store at Westmoreland Mall. Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board spokesman Doug Harbach said no votes have been scheduled on Stadium Casino’s application, which was filed last month. “With every month that goes by, it will be clearer and clearer when it will open. We know the location, but we don’t know entirely what it is going to look like,” he said.
The application proposes a 100,000 square foot casino complex with 750 slot machines and up to 40 table games, employing 600 people.
Harbach said when the application review process is finished, a public comment period will begin. He said the gaming board will hold a public hearing in Hempfield to gather local input about the proposal. He noted background checks, traffic studies and local permitting will be required before the casino can open. “The process could be 12 to 18 months,” Harbach stated.
Mount Airy Casino Resort in the Poconos also recently announced plans to break ground later this year on a $21.19 million mini casino on 110 acres in Beaver County. Mount Airy #1 LLC was awarded a gaming license by the state gaming control board in February. The facility is expected to be completed in late 2019 and feature 750 slot machines, 30 table games and a high-limit area plus a buffet restaurant. Phase two will offer a hotel, convention center, fine dining restaurant, pool, spa, salon and other amenities.
Mount Airy Casino Resort owner and Managing Trustee Lisa DeNaples said, “We’re thrilled to bring our 4-diamond customer service, high-quality entertainment and luxurious amenities to Beaver County and the surrounding communities, while contributing a positive lasting impact on the local economy.” She said the project will create 700 new jobs.
Beaver County Tourism Director Tim Ishman added, “This is going to attract a market of people who are going to another place right now. Short of agriculture, tourism is the largest economic driver in the state. We’ve been a major player in that and have a good thing going here. Mount Airy’s casino is going to continue that. Hopefully, those visitors won’t spend all of their money at the casino, but will enjoy our restaurants and our museums, too.”