The group behind a second Philadelphia casino set to open in 2020 is now making plans to build not one, but two new casino properties. Stadium Casino, LLC‘s $40 million bid to build a satellite casino in Westmoreland County in the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area was the highest of four received by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board this week.

The bid was a part of the second in a series of satellite casino project auctions. As a result, it won the auction. Stadium now has two business days to pay the $40,100,005 it bid. Additionally, it has another six months to submit an application for a Category 4 satellite casino slot machine license.

Category 4 slot machine licenses permit the operation of between 300 and 750 slot machines. License holders can also apply for permission to operate up to 30 table games for an additional fee of $2.5 million. Additionally, after the first year of operation, ten more table games can be added.

Penn National Gaming vs. Pennsylvania

In the state’s first auction held on Jan. 10, a subsidiary of Penn National Gaming that operates Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course was the high bidder. It’s $50 million bid is for a satellite casino in York County. York County is just south of the capital city of Harrisburg and north of the Mason-Dixon line.

However, Penn National Gaming is also suing the state to have the buffer zones around existing casinos where satellite casinos cannot be built changed to better protect its Hollywood Casino.

Stadium Casino, LLC is a joint venture between the Cordish Companies and Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment.

Greenwood currently operates Parx Casino just outside Philadelphia. Additionally, Cordish Companies’ US casino projects include two Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casinos in Hollywood and Tampa, Florida and the Maryland Live! Hotel & Casino in Hanover, Maryland.

Philadelphia’s second casino

The joint venture already holds a Category 2 license for a major casino project in Philadelphia. Plans were to open in the first quarter of 2018. However, a legal battle and question regarding casino ownership laws in the state forced delays.

Questions arose regarding whether Greenwood principal Watche “Bob” Manoukian’s ownership interest in Parx and the new Philadelphia casino project represented a breach of casino ownership laws in the state.

However, the state eventually gave Manoukian the thumbs up. Additionally, Philadelphia’s only other casino, SugarHouse Casino, dropped an appeal of the project’s gaming license after the new gambling law changed ownership standards.

Ultimately, the company received the gaming license granted to it by the state and a building permit.

Construction on the $600 million casino and entertainment complex will begin sometime this year. It will go up at the former Packer Avenue Holiday Inn property located in South Philadelphia’s sports stadium district.

The complex will include a 200-plus room hotel, five restaurants, nightclubs, and a parking garage. Its casino will feature 2,000 slot machines and 125 table games. It will open in 2020.

Opening beside the city’s sports stadiums should make it a true destination for fans of gambling and sports. Owners claim it will be the first comprehensive gaming, resort, entertainment, and sports destination in the US.

The Pittsburgh-area gaming market

Satduims’s satellite casino will obviously be much smaller in scale and scope. However, it does represent a move into the Pittsburgh-area gaming market.

Pittsburgh is Pennsylvania’s second-largest city. SugarHouse Casino owners Rush Street Gaming already have a stronghold on the intersection of sports and gambling there.

In fact, its Rivers Casino Pittsburgh is in the city’s North Shore neighborhood, just a short walk from Heinz Field. The 68,400-seat Heinz Field stadium is home to the Pittsburgh Steelers National Football League franchise.

Photo by Joshua Haviv /