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Big Beaver To Get Mini-Casino: Mount Airy Pittsburgh Files Plans With PGCB

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It looks like Big Beaver is getting a mini-casino.

Officials from Mount Airy Casino Resort in Mount Pocono filed plans with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) on Friday to turn 100 acres of land just off Interstate 376 in Big Beaver into a multimillion-dollar mini-casino and entertainment complex.

They’re calling the project Mount Airy Pittsburgh.

Mount Airy won its mini-casino license in February with a winning bid of $21,888,888.88. Its rough plan was to build somewhere on the Eastern side of the state near New Castle.

The Big Beaver site sits approximately 15 miles south of New Castle. It’s a stone’s throw from where the Pennsylvania Turnpike meets Interstate 376.

The site is approximately a 30-minutes drive from Youngstown, Ohio and just 45 minutes from Pittsburgh.

PA mini-casinos can house up to 750 slot machines and 30 table games. However, the Board said earlier this month PA mini-casino locations may be able to open up sportbooks. The casino must submit a request to include the site on its $10 million PA sports betting license first though.

This would be similar to the Parx sports betting license application. It includes a request to launch sportsbooks at both Parx and its South Philadelphia Turf Club off-track betting parlor.

So far, the only sports betting plans publicly released by Mount Airy surround a deal it struck with The Stars Group. It’s a deal to launch a PokerStars and Mount Airy-branded online poker site and BetStars and Mount Airy-branded online and mobile PA sports betting operation under the casino’s PA licenses.

Targeting the Ohio market

The proposed site’s proximity to 500,000-plus people in Youngstown makes it a good location to try to draw customers from Ohio. The Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Racetrack gaming facility is just outside Youngstown. However, it only features video lottery terminals, not slot machines, table games, or a sportsbook.

Plans include an early 2019 groundbreaking and late 2019 opening. However, there are a number of hoops Mount Airy Pittsburgh must jump through before spades turn soil.

According to The Times, PGCB spokesperson Douglas Harbach said the staff is reviewing the application. PGCB will make it available for public review in the coming weeks. A public comment hearing will follow in Big Beaver. The meeting date and location has yet to be set.

Mount Airy has already conducted a traffic study and local impact report. Plus, officials are in Beaver County this week beginning discussions with various workforce development and educational partners.

Beaver County welcomes Mount Airy

VP of Marketing and Gaming Operations Vincent Jordan said the county welcomes the project with open arms:

“While the due diligence process is underway, we’re enthusiastic about working with the community on job training and other partnerships. We are looking forward to communicating our plans and are appreciative of all the help and collaboration we have received from Beaver County officials.”

Board of Commissioners chairman Daniel Camp confirmed Beaver County is happy to have Mount Airy there:

“It’s great to see another organization and business come into Beaver County who is willing to and will be a great neighbor to our community. I think them being here this early prior to breaking ground is a sign that shows the commitment to the community and the project.”

The application reveals Mount Airy is taking a two-phase approach to construction. The first will include the casino and restaurant facilities. It will bring an estimated 300 construction jobs and somewhere between 400 and 500 full-time jobs to the area.

The second phase will include additional entertainment options, bringing another 200 to 300 full-time jobs with it.

Beaver County will never be the same, and Camp said that is probably a good thing:

“From the due diligence we have done here, we know what the Mount Airy organization does for the community in Mount Pocono. We’re excited for them to bring that here, along with the family-sustaining jobs they will be providing for workers from Beaver County and all through the region.”

Marty Derbyshire

About

Martin Derbyshire has more than ten years of experience reporting on the poker, online gambling, and land-based casino industries for a variety of publications including Bluff Magazine, PokerNews, and PokerListings. He has traveled extensively, attending tournaments and interviewing major players in the gambling world.