Penn National Makes Pitch For Second Pennsylvania Satellite Casino

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board held a public input hearing on Monday for a satellite brick-and-mortar casino from Penn National.
penn national gaming

The state of Pennsylvania on Monday held its fourth public input hearing for the upcoming satellite casinos.

Penn National gave a roughly 30-minute presentation to the local community and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, the state’s regulatory body for all things casino gambling. The PGCB typically has hearings in Harrisburg, but the satellite casino projects require state officials to travel to the local community to gather feedback.

The hearing was held in Morgantown, Pennsylvania, located within Caernarvon Township.

The project

The company won an auction for the satellite casino on April 4, 2018 for $7.5 mm. The Category 4 casino will be located about 40 miles east of Philadelphia and about 40 miles from Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, the company said.

The company submitted its application to regulators in October.

Penn National plans a $111 million total investment, which includes the $7.5 mm gaming license fee. It plans to have 750 slots and 40 tables, the maximum allowed in the 86,000-square-foot property. It also plans to have a sportsbook at the property in Caernarvon Township.

The company said it’s eyeing a late 2020 opening. It anticipates about 275 construction jobs for the project. It will employ about 250 people full-time once the property opens.

The casino will be located near the intersections of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I-176, and the Morgantown Expressway, making it a convenient spot for gamblers.

Satellite casinos part of 2017 expansion law

The so-called mini-casinos were part of the late-2017 gambling expansion package that included sports betting legalization and online casino gambling. Existing casinos in the state were authorized to bid for satellite properties located in regions of the state underserved by the existing 12 facilities.

By law, the satellite casinos are smaller than the existing casinos. Properties like ParxHarrah’s, and Mohegan Sun offer between 2,000 and 3,500 slots, along with more than 100 table games each.

The 2017 expansion bill was approved to help Pennsylvania grow its $3.2 billion casino gambling market, which has been flat in recent years.

Already invested in the state

Penn National said it is the only publicly-traded gaming company headquartered in Pennsylvania. The casino operator has 41 properties in 18 jurisdictions, it told regulators on Monday. It highlighted $5 billion in annual revenues and its 30,000 employees. The number will grow to 42 properties when it completes the acquisition of a casino in Detroit. For those familiar with Las Vegas, Penn National owns the Tropicana casino on the Strip, and the M Resort located off the Strip.

The company also went over the success of its Pennsylvania casino, Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, which opened the Keystone State’s first sportsbook in November. According to Penn National, its $400 mm flagship Pennsylvania casino will still anchor its PA operations.

Second mini-casino for Penn National

The Caernarvon Township satellite casino is actually the second for Penn National. The company scored the first Category 4 license when it bid $50.1 mm for a satellite casino in the borough of Yoe. That property had a public input hearing in November.

The Yoe facility will be 50 miles south of its flagship casino and 20 miles north of the Maryland border. The 79,000-square-foot facility will come to a space formerly occupied by Sears at the York Galleria Mall. Penn National plans a $70 mm investment in that casino.

The PGCB will hold its fifth Category 4 hearing on March 25 in Shippensburg for Greenwood Gaming, the parent company of Parx.

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