A Pennsylvania judge has made a ruling in the Bally Casino case at State College. Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court President Judge Emerita Bonnie Brigance Leadbetter has denied stay requests for SC Gaming and Stadium Casino.
SC Gaming’s request was for the case to be heard at the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Stadium Casino wanted the case to be decided at the Commonwealth Court.
Stadium Casino is challenging SC Gaming’s winning bid of the retail Nittany Casino, originally from September 2020.
Nittany Casino court case to stay in PA Commonwealth Court
PlayPennsylvania last reported that Stadium Casino and SC Gaming each filed stay requests. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) and SC Gaming asked the Commonwealth Court to stay its case to allow the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to make a ruling. Stadium Casino filed a retort, wanting the case to be heard at the Commonwealth level.
Judge Leadbetter has denied the stay requests of SC Gaming/PGCB and Stadium Casino. The Commonwealth Court is continuing to hear the case until the next steps are determined.
The news comes shortly after the Commonwealth ruled that Stadium Casino raised several issues as “ripe” in February. In other words, Stadium Casino’s arguments have merit and warrants further review.
Though the ruling isn’t a win for either side, the case stays at the Commonwealth level for now.
SC Gaming’s PA casino bid called into question
Lubert won the Category 4 PA mini-casino license from the PGCB with a bid of $10,000,101 in September 2020, though the bid has been in question because of Lubert’s alleged improper partners. Lubert’s partners do not have licenses in PA.
Mark Aronchick, attorney representing Stadium Casino, also said that Lubert brought in other interests on this project.
“They are people clearly who have interests that need to be looked at carefully as ownership interests,” Aronchick said in December. “Because if they are ownership interests, they weren’t allowed to bid, and they shouldn’t be in this project and this application shouldn’t be considered.”
Lubert has denied the allegations because he said he paid out of his own personal bank account.
Stephen J. Kastenberg, a partner with Ballard Spahr that is representing SC Gaming, said Stadium Casino lacks evidence.
“Petitioner actually offers no evidence,” he said in December. “They offer a lot of citations, but those citations are to a petition that they filed in Commonwealth Court. Statutorily this board is not simply allowed to decide eligibility. It is compelled by its own regulatory code and by statute to decide eligibility.”
Stadium Casino continues to expand despite Pennsylvania legal battle
Stadium Casino, owned and operated by the Cordish Companies, has properties all over the country. In Pennsylvania, they operate two casinos, Live! Casino Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. In partnership with Comcast, they also operate Xfinity Live!, a popular sports bar in South Philadelphia’s Stadium District.
Along with wanting to expand into Central PA, the Cordish Companies are moving south.
Earlier this week, the company announced an agreement to acquire Diamond Jacks Casino & Hotel in Bossier City, Louisiana. The Cordish Company plans to re-brand the property into a Live! Casino resort and entertainment destination. The property has been closed since 2020.
The Cordish Companies has 36 properties in its portfolio, with many of them in the gaming industry.