We have finally gotten an update on one of the biggest mini-casino projects coming to a Pennsylvania town near you in the not-too-distant future.

The Mount Airy Pittsburgh mini-casino in Big Beaver from Mount Airy Casino has come into further focus thanks to the release of the casino application ahead of this coming Tuesday’s Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) hearing.

The details aren’t exactly groundbreaking, but they bring an added layer of clarity for community members interested in vetting the large-scale project before it breaks ground near their home. Additionally, they provide gaming officials a starting point for their background investigation.

Mount Airy Pittsburgh

Of course, not all of the 434-page application could be shared with the public.

Certain elements, such as private financial information, were redacted. However, when it comes to the facts and figures of the casino’s actual layout, we’ve gotten clear answers.

Patrons of Mount Airy Pittsburgh can expect a mini-casino in line with the others currently already in-progress, such as Hollywood Casino York. That means:

  • 750 slot machines
  • A 225-plus seat buffet
  • A three-venue food court
  • A sports bar and restaurant with seating for at least 125 people
  • A coffee outlet

Pennsylvania mini-casinos, of course, are allowed to house anywhere from 300 to 750 slots, as well as 30 table games.

At launch, the casino will feature 30 table games, with an expected expansion to 40 table games sometime in the future.

“We’re still feeling our way through,” Richard McGarvey, a spokesman for the PGCB said of the mini-casino vetting process. “It’s not as time-consuming (as a traditional casino license); we’re already aware of most of the individuals involved with the project. We don’t have to start from ground zero, which helps along with the investigation.”

The proposed project will reside at the intersection of Fairlane Boulevard and Shenango Road in Big Beaver, with opening possible as soon as late 2019.

Early estimates — from Mount Airy, of course, so take these with a hefty helping of salt — suggest as many as 600 to 800 permanent full-time jobs will come into the community along with the casino.

Additionally, 300 construction jobs should open up as well, once construction actually begins.

PGCB hearing info

Plans for the project will be presented at a public hearing at the Big Beaver Fire Station along Friendship Road at 1 p.m. on Dec. 4.

The public is, of course, encouraged to sign up to speak, but must do so in advance through the PGCB website.

“We have to do background checks on everyone involved,” McGarvey said. “We’re looking at their criminal history, financial history and regulatory history. Is their financing in order? How will this project be financed and is it feasible?

“We want to know, ‘Can it be done?’”

The application also includes a third-party report, prepared by Labella Associates, a Rochester, N.Y.-based planning firm, that addresses the casino’s expected impact on the surrounding community.

According to the report, infrastructure already exists to handle utilities, including:

  • Gas
  • Electric
  • Water
  • Sewage

A traffic study suggests that, due to the project’s proximity to major highways, there won’t be a negative impact on traffic patterns, though there’s already talk that added public transportation stops may be necessary.

Expected to speak at the hearing are a number of people with varying interests in the project’s ultimate future. They include:

  • John Goberish of the workforce and continuing education division at the Community College of Beaver County;
  • Bradley Wetzel, speaking in support of the licensure;
  • Larry Nelson of Beaver County Building Trades; and,
  • county Commissioner Chairman Daniel Camp.

“Several local residents have reached out to me in support of it and wanted me to be there as their voice of support,” Camp said in a statement. “I think it’s my responsibility to be there to support it, both professionally and personally.”

Following Tuesday’s hearing and the PGCB’s investigation, a final public meeting will be held in Harrisburg in 2019. At that point, the board will make a final decision.