Pennsylvania regulator sets closing date for public comment on proposed casino

The period for written comments will close on June 12.
The period for written comments will close on June 12.

The Pennsylvania casino project at the Nittany Mall near Penn State University in State College has attracted some fierce opposition.

US.- The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has announced that the period of public comment on SC Gaming Op Co’s proposed Category 4 casino in College Township in Center County will close on June 12. The comment period began prior to a public input meeting held last August and remained open “due to special circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic.” 

Before the casino can move forward, the PGCB will need to vote on licence approval. No date has been set for a licensing hearing but it will be held in Harrisburg and representatives of the casino developer and the PGCB’s Office of Enforcement Counsel will be able to present any updated evidence and make oral arguments for whether the licence should be granted.

If the license is granted, the final step will be permit approvals for construction and renovations at the former Macy’s location in the mall. College Township Council already approved land development plans for the project last fall.

The Nittany Mall is less than four miles from the Penn State campus in University Park. Bally’s partnered with businessman Ira Lubert after he won the Category 4 satellite casino auction round and targeted State College for a gaming development.

Bally’s is seeking state approval to spend $123m to transform part of the dated, largely vacant shopping mall into a casino. The casino would offer 750 slot machines, 30 table games, and sports betting. It would also have a sport-themed restaurant with space for live entertainment.

Developers have presented a study that estimated that the casino would have a one-time economic impact of $43.6m for College Township and $61.4m for Centre County.

The PGCB has fielded hundreds of letters regarding the proposed casino. The vast majority have raised concerns and objections to a gaming facility so close to the state’s largest higher education institution.

Pennsylvania gaming revenue from April

Pennsylvania’s combined revenue from regulated gaming and fantasy contests generated $461.6m in April, just 0.2 per cent less than the monthly record of $462.7m set in March but up by 14.5 per cent year-on-year.

The highest increase was in sports betting, where revenue was $33.7m, up 28 per cent year-on-year. Some $30.7m was generated online and $3m from retail betting. The state handle increased 19.5 per cent to $572.8m.

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Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board