An attempt to bring gambling to Beaver County in Western Pennsylvania via a mini-casino is dead.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) denied the mini-casino license application for a new property called Mount Airy Pittsburgh. The board said the applicant, Mount Airy Casino, did not have the financial means to move ahead.
Mount Airy Pittsburgh lacked financial backing
“Despite Mount Airy’s reasonable efforts to attempt to obtain funding for that project, they were unable to do so,” said Doug Sherman, chief counsel for the PGCB. “Therefore, they are not able to satisfy financial requirements to establish the operational viability of this particular project.”
A Mount Airy official expressed disappointment that the company won’t be expanding to Big Beaver Borough in Beaver County, but did not take issue with the PGCB decision.
“We are very disappointed that Mount Airy Casino Resort will not be moving forward with our proposed Category 4 casino in Beaver County,” Todd Greenberg, Mount Airy Casino Resort’s chief operating officer, said in a prepared statement.
Former Mount Airy owner’s presence cited by a news site
Additionally, the hyper-local news site BeaverCountian.com reported the delay may have been attributable to a slow-going investigation of the continuing background presence of former Mount Airy owner Louis DeNaples.
Regulators had previously barred him from Mount Airy due to perjury charges. The perjury stemmed from allegations the Scranton businessman was tied to the now-defunct Bufalino mob family.
In January, DeNaples unsuccessfully petitioned the PGCB for permission to do business with Mount Airy.
Despite his ban, DeNaples attended several mini-casino meetings in Beaver and Butler counties, the Beaver County news site has reported.
Mini-casino project already late
The mini-casino project was at least six months behind its announced schedule.
Mount Airy is out about $5.3 million on the mini-casino bid. The property paid $21.2 million for the Category 4 license application and only gets 75% back.
The proposed location is close to the Ohio state line, about 60 miles from Pittsburgh. The parcel, 100 acres of land near Interstate 376 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike, sits idle.
Promised jobs for Beaver and neighboring Lawrence counties won’t materialize. Plans for the property included 750 slot machines, 30 table games, and three restaurants.
Four mini-casino projects still in development
The demise of the Mount Airy mini-casino means there are just four satellite casino properties still in development. The law allowed for 10 of the Category 4 properties. After two rounds of bidding and no more interested bidders, the auctions ceased after awarding five licenses.
In addition to Big Beaver, a location for Parx Casino in Shippensburg is on hold after geological testing revealed rock formations prone to sinkholes.
Two of the three other locations are vacant mall spaces, one near Pittsburgh and one near York. The third, Hollywood Morgantown, is under development in an area not too far from Lancaster County.