The final Pennsylvania satellite casino found a home. The second of two mini-casino properties secured by Penn National will call Morgantown, PA home. The Central Pennsylvania township splits the difference between Philadelphia and Harrisburg.
More technically, the casino will be in Caernarvon Township in Berks County. It is located near the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-76), I-176, and the Morgantown Expressway (Rt. 10).
Hollywood Casino Morgantown is a $111 million project with slot machines, tables games, and, hopefully, a race and sportsbook.
From West Cocalico to Morgantown
The license for Hollywood Casino Morgantown was the last one auctioned off this past spring. Penn National spent $50 million on Hollywood Casino York, creating a southern buffer from its flagship Hollywood Casino and other mini-casinos.
The West Cocalico selection on April 4 created an Eastern PA buffer for the property. The new Morgantown property will accomplish the same effect.
Compared to Hollywood Casino York, Hollywood Casino Morgantown’s license was a steal at just a hair over the minimum price of $7.5 million.
While Hollywood Casino York will go into an old Sears in York Galleria, Hollywood Casino Morgantown will be in a free-standing structure on a 36-acre plot.
Penn National Gaming CEO Timothy J. Wilmott shed some light on selecting a location:
“While we explored numerous locations for our Category 4 casino in and around Berks County, the site we selected is unparalleled in terms of ease of access to three major arteries. Hollywood Casino Morgantown is ideally situated to generate new revenues from the more densely populated suburbs to the west of Philadelphia, while further protecting our existing market share at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course.”
First definite plans to offer mini-casino sports betting
The last of the mini-casino plans contained a first for the Category 4 casinos. During the announcement for Hollywood Casino York, PGCB Director of Communication Doug Harbach confirmed mini-casinos could eventually offer PA sports betting.
In order to do so, mini-casinos will need to follow a similar procedure as South Philadelphia Turf Club did with Parx Casino. There does not need to be any more money on top of Penn National’s $10 million license. However, the satellite will need to be vetted by PGCB.
If Parx is any indication, Morgantown and York cannot take wagers until Hollywood Casino proves it can run sports betting to the PGCB’s liking. Given the timeline, that should not be an issue. Penn National is hoping to take bets starting next month. Meanwhile, neither mini-casino project is really off the ground.
Hollywood York public hearing is tomorrow
In fact, Hollywood Casino York still has a big hurdle to clear. Thursday, the PGCB will host a public hearing on the project.
To put it bluntly, many citizens near the York location are less than thrilled with the location. The township had opted out of a mini-casino before Penn National convinced the town leadership to opt back in.
This will be an opportunity to publicly oppose the project before final details are set in stone.