Mount Airy Pittsburgh Will Be The Talk Of The Town Tuesday

Mount Airy’s mini-casino project in Big Beaver will be the subject of discussion at a Dec. 4 hearing hosted by PGCB for residents to speak on the property.

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.

Penn National Announces Mini-Casino Project Hollywood Casino Morgantown

The last of the mini-casino licenses finally has a plan. Penn National announced details for the project, called Hollywood Casino Morgantown.

Bucks County, it’s only a matter of time until you can shuffle up and deal.

This past week, Penn National Gaming, Inc. announced that its second Category 4 satellite casino will be located in Caernarvon Township in Bucks County. Its name is Hollywood Casino Morgantown.

Timothy J. Wilmott, Penn National’s CEO, made the following statement via press release:

“While we explored numerous locations for our Category 4 casino in and around Berks County, the site we selected is unparalleled in terms of ease of access to three major arteries. Hollywood Casino Morgantown is ideally situated to generate new revenues from the more densely populated suburbs to the west of Philadelphia, while further protecting our existing market share at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course.”

The announcement ended the mystery of Penn National’s second satellite casino. It was the only remaining license that had not submitted plans to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB)

The Bucks County casino is the second of two satellites Penn National will build. The other location, Hollywood Casino York, will go in open retail space at York Galleria.

Details about Hollywood Casino Morgantown

Per PA gambling laws, satellite casinos are allowed up to 750 slot machines and 30 table games the first year. there is also the option to add 10 additional table games the second year.

Penn National said they’re launching with 750 slots and 30 table games.

Here are further details about their property. Unlike Hollywood Casino York, this mini-casino will go on an empty lot. The project should create around 250 jobs.

  • The building process will create around 275 construction jobs
  • Construction should take about 18 months
  • Caernarvon Township gets two percent of gross slots revenue and one percent of table games revenue.
  • 80,000 square-feet in size

According to the release, the project will cost $111 million, which includes the roughly $10 million in licensing fees.

Hollywood Casino York details

This past September, Penn National revealed plans for its other mini-casino license. The company will open a satellite property inside an old Sears in York Galleria Mall.

This option wasn’t turnkey. However, it did present Penn National the ability to use an existing building rather having to build from the ground up as they will at Hollywood Casino Morgantown.

This nuance to their plans is considerably cheaper for Penn National. Without licensing fees, the York casino will cost around $67 million, which is about $33 million less than their Berks County casino.

An article from the Reading Eagle included the following quote from Wilmott about the York County project:

“We believe the York Galleria Mall, which is a well-known retail destination in York County, is an ideal site for our planned Hollywood Casino York. We explored numerous other potential opportunities within York County, but the mall’s convenient location, existing infrastructure, and ample parking, as well as the support of Springettsbury Township officials and the local business community, helped cement our decision.”

Put A York In It: Hollywood Casino Reaches Mini-Casino Mall Deal

After nine months of searching and debating, Penn National found a mini-casino location. It announced plans for the $120 million Hollywood Casino York.

One of the five upcoming Pennsylvania-based mini-casinos finally found a home – the York Galleria Mall.

York Galleria provides space, parking, and infrastructure

Penn National Gaming, Inc. announced last week that they had officially filed a $120 million application with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) for the location in Springettsbury Township.

The Hollywood Casino York will house 500 slot machines and 20 table games, with room for expansion.

“We explored numerous other potential opportunities within York County, but the mall’s convenient location, existing infrastructure, and ample parking, as well as the support of Springettsbury Township officials and the local business community, helped cement our decision,” Timothy Wilmott, Penn National’s CEO, said in a statement announcing the gaming conglomerate’s decision.

Two weeks ago, Penn National spokesman Eric Schippers told reporters that the Bucks County-based company was finalizing an option to lease an empty Sears space.

Penn National asked for extension on project

Mini-casinos, also known as Category 4 casinos, can house 300 to 750 slot machines and up to 40 table games. They were authorized as part of a gambling expansion bill signed into law last year by Gov. Tom Wolf. The law allows up to 10 mini-casinos. However, auctions for satellite casino licenses only resulted in five bids. The other five are still in limbo regarding their future.

Penn National actually won the very first Category 4 license in January of 2018. It then took months of research and back-and-forth squabbling with various members of Springettsbury Township to strike a deal.

Assuming all goes according to plan, it’s expected that the future Hollywood Casino York will open within 12 to 18 months with 500 slot machines and 20 table games immediately up and running.

Took eight months to settle on a mini-casino location

Springettsbury Township will receive two percent of the gross tax revenue from the new casino’s slot machines and one percent from table games. Penn National says that of the $120 million they’re investing, $52.6 million will go toward licensing fees for slots and table games. That bid was the largest of the five. The base cost of a license is $7.5 million.

Revenue from York Galleria will be distributed at the state, county and local levels.

As late as July of this year, Penn National was still considering a number of other locations within York County.

“We wanted additional time to conduct further analysis on the sites and expect to make a final decision in the near future,” Penn National spokesman Jeff Morris told The York Daily Record at the time. “Accessibility and enough space to accommodate both the facility and ample parking are two of the primary factors in determining the ideal location for our Category 4 facility.”

Initially, after Penn National expressed interest in the York Galleria location, supervisors said no to hosting a casino on the site. Municipalities could opt out as part of the expansion bill. Many did.

Community members poured into public hearings in July in an effort to voice their displeasure. Opponents voiced concerns about an increase in crime, potential fluctuations in property values, and the casino’s proximity to schools and a playground.

York initially said no, then changed its mind

Econsult Solutions, Inc., a consulting firm hired by Penn National to assess the overall impact of the mini casino on the township, found that it was likely to have a positive impact fiscally. Even if the casino only earns the township a few hundred thousand in annual revenue, it should up tourism and offer increased business opportunities. However, other issues, such as improving traffic patterns and building bigger water and sewer lines, could require an additional investment. In spite of the initial disagreements, the fiscal allure of a mini casino was simply too much for Springettsbury Township to ignore.

Springettsbury isn’t without its own allure, of course. The township provides plenty of opportunity for the casino as well. There are a number of shopping centers, a Target and the York Galleria. Additionally, it is in close proximity to Route 30 and Interstate 83.

Details on the Hollywood Casino York project

The expectation from Springettsbury Township supervisors is that the Hollywood Casino York will revitalize the mall and bring customers back to other shops.

“The development of this mini casino will be a catalyst for further investment and economic growth at the York Galleria Mall,” County Supervisor Charles Wurster said in a statement. “The vast majority of residents that I have received feedback from, overwhelmingly support this additional benefit in the community for a different form of entertainment and for the economic opportunities to the area that this investment will provide.”

Beyond the betting parlor, the Hollywood Casino York will feature a sports bar, a small entertainment lounge and a pair of fast-casual eateries. More from Wilmott:

“Penn National Gaming has been proud to call Pennsylvania home for over 45 years. We look forward to adding hundreds of new team members in York County and becoming another economic engine for Springettsbury and the greater York business community.”

Penn National expects their new location to create 200 permanent jobs, along with 75 short-term construction jobs.

Photo by Wayne0216 /