Last Tuesday, the officials of Caernarvon Township unanimously approved Penn National Gaming’s bid to establish a Category 4 satellite casino in the area despite opposition from a good number of residents. Penn National which currently owns and operates the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Grantville, Pennsylvania has been trying to expand its reach across the Keystone State and one of the steps that it took to ensure this included filing an application with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board for a Category 4 mini-casino in October 2018.
At the recent Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board public hearing, Penn National went on to pitch its plan to develop a $111 million gaming facility that would be referred to as the Hollywood Casino Morgantown. This facility would be located on a 36-acre site which is accessible from Route 10 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike and it would feature 30 table games as well as 750 slots machines. Moreover, the casino will also include restaurants and an entertainment venue.
Great Things Ahead
Close to 40 residents of the area attended the PGCB pubic hearing and most of them lauded the efforts to bring a casino project to Caernarvon Township citing optimism that the mini-casino would revitalize the town’s economy which has been stagnant for quite a while. The township’s supervisors and official unanimously voted in favor of the casino plan despite the opposition that a section of the area’s residents had mounted on them prior to the hearing.
While the Tuesday hearing was largely attended by proponents of the mini-casino project, the previous meeting was swarmed with anti-casino campaigners who were very vocal on why Penn National Gaming should not be allowed to set up a mini-casino in the township. Some of these people cited religious and moral issues while others voiced their concerns over the possibility that a casino project would result in increased crime and traffic.
Even so, the prospective economic boost that the casino will bring was seemingly too good for the officials to ignore. Initial projections revealed that the mini-casino project could inject up to $95 million into the local economy – the township reportedly expects to earn close to $1.6 million from the gaming facility. In essence, 2 percent of the gaming facility’s slot machine revenue and 1 percent of the table game revenue would go to Caernarvon Township. In addition to that, there will be 255 construction jobs and 250 permanent jobs would be created once the facility goes live.
If everything goes as planned, Penn National has confirmed that the construction will begin and continue for the next 18 months bringing the estimated launch period to late 2020. However, before construction begins, Penn Nation still needs regulatory approval from the PGCB.