Wind Creek Casino License Renewal Hearing Set For June 27

Written By Corey Sharp on June 5, 2024
Pennsylvania state capital buildings in Harrisburg. Wind Creek Casino's Category 2 license renewal hearing is slated for June 27. The latest underaged incidents at the casino will be addressed.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) announced a renewal hearing license for Wind Creek Casino, which is slated to be held on June 27 at 10:30 a.m.

PGCB Communications Director, Doug Harbach, told PlayPennsylvania on Wednesday that the renewal process “is a hearing to collect evidence held by our Bureau of Hearings and Appeals.” There are numerous parties that are present during the hearing, including the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP).

Harbach told us that there has been no scenario in which a Pennsylvania casino has been denied a license renewal. While Wind Creek Casino doesn’t appear to be in any sort of jeopardy, it has struggled with underage gambling incidents as of late.

Wind Creek to provide an update during hearing

Wind Creek has not had a license renewal hearing since 2018. Pennsylvania casinos are subject to renewals every five years. However, the pandemic disrupted the process.

The obvious focus of the hearing is on the Bethlehem casino, which is going to pitch its case to the PGCB. It’s the first step of a two-part process.

“Wind Creek would make a presentation to update on what has occurred since last relicensing (2018) and future plans,” Harbach told PlayPennsylvania.

“Lawyers from Hearing and Appeals would ask questions as would Board members. Then additional presentations would be submitted by State Police and our Bureaus of Investigations and Enforcement and Casino Compliance.”

The first hearing is open to the public, which also includes written or verbal testimony from citizens, public officials and community groups.

From there, a second public hearing will be scheduled in Harrisburg at a later date.

“A report would then be provided to the Board members on all findings and a second hearing held prior to a future Board meeting in which the members can ask additional questions before determining individually their vote on the renewal,” Harbach said. “Each Board member will weigh the evidence, including past fines, individually in reaching a decision.”

No casino has been denied renewal in Pennsylvania

Harbach confirmed with PlayPennsylvania that every Keystone State casino has been granted a license renewal. The chances of Wind Creek getting denied are almost zero.

However, the property has experienced some struggles recently.

The PGCB issued a $125,000 fine to the Bethlehem casino for 10 incidents, involving 11 underage players from 2021 to 2023. Wind Creek has been fined 11 times for underage gambling incidents, totaling $825,000.

Three of the underage individuals who gained access to the gaming floor consumed an alcoholic beverage inside the casino.

Mike Magazzu is Wind Creek Executive Director of Compliance and Risk Management. He detailed to the PGCB the technology upgrades the property has implemented to prevent fake and false IDs.

Even so, PGCB chair, Denise Smyler, will not the let these incidents go.

“I know you’re having a license renewal hearing next month. We will probably be re-visiting this issue at that time,” Smyler told Magazzu, along with two other Wind Creek executives present during the last monthly meeting.

Wind Creek is one of the top grossing casinos in the state, producing $526.4 million in 2023, just behind Parx Casino’s $588.2 million.

While it is one of the state’s most successful casinos, it has a lot to clean up by June 27.

Photo by Matt Rourke / AP Photo
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Corey Sharp

Corey Sharp is the Lead Writer at PlayPennsylvania bringing you comprehensive coverage of sports betting and gambling in Pennsylvania. Corey is a 4-for-4 Philly sports fan and previously worked as a writer and editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer and NBC Sports Philadelphia.

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