PA Mini-Casinos Holding Their Own With Two More In The Works

Written By Erin Flynn Jay on November 29, 2022 - Last Updated on February 3, 2023
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As part of the Pennsylvania casino gambling expansion legislation, the Keystone State was supposed to get up to 10 new mini-casinos, or satellite casinos.

These smaller (Category 4) casinos can feature 300 to 750 slot machines, plus up to 40 table games. A form of “convenience gambling,” these casinos offer fewer amenities in less populated areas than Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The state aims to draw in more revenue by appealing to casino patrons who would rather drive half an hour or less to a small venue than travel around an hour to a larger casino.

The Commonwealth collected more than $121 million just in upfront licensing fees from PA mini-casino auctions.

The plan for 10 new PA mini-casinos fell through, however, PA will be home to five Category 4 casinos. Here is an update on the three existing ones and on the other two projects.

Live! Casino Pittsburgh revenue down in October

Stadium Casino opened this mini-casino site in a vacant space at Westmoreland Mall in western PA in mid-November 2020.

Celebrity chef and restaurateur Guy Fieri has a namesake eatery at Live! Casino Pittsburgh, which the casino hopes will attract customers.

The PGCB reported Live! Casino Pittsburgh’s October 2022 revenue of $8.9 million, a decrease of 5% compared to $9.4 million generated in October 2021. Its October gross revenue from slot machines was $8.2 million; table games revenue that month was $1 million.

Overall, its October earnings ranked 13th among active retail casinos, around $60 million short of the market leader.

Hollywood Casino York seeing lots of table games action

Penn National’s Hollywood Casino also opened a satellite casino in a vacant mall space in south-central Pennsylvania.

Penn, facing financial issues, resumed work in November 2020 and opened in August 2021.

The PGCB reported Hollywood Casino York’s October 2022 revenue of $8 million, an increase of 9% compared to $7.4 million generated in October 2021. This ranked 14th among casinos in the state, a sizable margin from Hollywood Casino’s market best of nearly $69 million.

Its October gross revenue from slot machines was $6.5 million; table games revenue last month hit $1.3 million.

Hollywood Casino Morgantown makes strides in 2022

Penn’s second mini-casino location is generally referred to as Hollywood Morgantown. The Morgantown designation refers to a zip code that sprawls across three counties, which was also approved by the gaming board.

The actual location is near a PA Turnpike exit and I-76 in Caernarvon TownshipBerks County. It opened in November 2021.

What made the location controversial is that the Morgantown area includes Lancaster County. All of the towns in Lancaster had opted out of hosting a mini-casino after PA’s 2017 gaming expansion law, which led to the Class 4 or mini-casino category.

The PGCB approved the project despite objections from residents outside Caernarvon.

Hollywood Casino Morgantown had the most dramatic increase in year-over-year revenue. For October 2022, the PGCB reported $6.5 million, a staggering jump up from the $346,496 generated in October 2021. Its solid month placed it about $1.5 million behind Hollywood Casino York, beating out just the Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin for 15th in PA.

Its October gross revenue from slot machines was $4.3 million; table games revenue that month was $807,000.

Parx Shippensburg delays opening until February 2023

Parx Casino Shippensburg originally planned to open in November 2022. The opening of the Parx mini-casino is now set for February 2023.

The 73,000-square-foot mini-casino will be located at the site of a former Lowe’s in Shippensburg. It will include approximately 500 slot machines and 48 electronic table positions, along with a 100 seat restaurant and sports bar featuring a full bar.

The menu will feature fresh stone-baked pizzas made to order in an onsite, live fire oven and more. The casino will also include sports wagering kiosks.

Parx is already eying expansion in the rest of the available space in the building.

State College Casino getting lots of pushback

The proposed Nittany Mall casino in State College continues to receive massive pushback, this time from a group of community members.

The Commonwealth Court has been deliberating for a long timeframe on the case alleging that Ira Lubert improperly partnered with ineligible parties to win the license for this casino.

Lubert, in partnership with Bally’s Corp., plans to transform the Nittany Mall into a casino that’s just a six-minute drive from Penn State University. The Category-4 satellite casino calls for 750 slot machines and 30 table games.

The casino estimates it will create at least 500 construction jobs and 350-400 permanent jobs.

Eric Pearson, the prospective CEO and general manager of the new casino, said the project would also provide “dynamic career growth opportunities” for the community.

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Erin Flynn Jay

Erin Flynn Jay is a freelance reporter based in Philadelphia. Recent national writing includes Woman’s World Magazine, Bar & Restaurant and Next Avenue (produced by Twin Cities PBS).

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