This week, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is set to finally vote on the plan for the development of a mini casino in Morgantown. The state’s gaming control board will be holding a hearing at 10 am local time on June 12 in Harrisburg. During this meeting, the regulator will be presented with more information about the Morgantown casino project that is set to cost upwards of $111 million and is being pursued by Penn National Gaming Inc., one of the most popular gaming operators in the country.
Early last year, Penn National Gaming received two licenses for Class 4 satellite casinos under the Keystone State’s new expanded gambling regulations that came into effect in October 2017. The law paved the way for the addition of up to ten Class 4 satellite gaming facilities across Pennsylvania and the licenses for these facilities were auctioned to the state’s licensed land-based casino operators.
As it stands, there is very little certainty that everything will work out in favor of the gaming operator during the PGCB hearing. According to Doug Harbach, the spokesperson for the regulator, “if the board feels they are in a position to vote, it could happen or they could decide they are not prepared to vote.” This means that even though there is a substantial amount of optimism regarding the matter, there is still a possibility that the board may opt to wait a little longer before eventually announcing the final decision on whether the mini-casino project should proceed as planned.
What to Expect
Dubbed Hollywood Casino Morgantown, the satellite casino is set to host up to 750 slot machines, 30 table games, as well as a full sports betting lounge. In addition to that, there are plans for one signature restaurant, an entertainment lounge, and food court.
“Hollywood Casino Morgantown is ideally situated to generate new revenues from the more densely populated suburbs to the west of Philadelphia while protecting our existing market share at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course near Grantville in Dauphin County,” said Timothy Wilmott, Penn National Gaming’s chief executive officer.
The host region also expects to reap quite a lot from the mini-casino project. For instance, the mini casino will create over 275 construction jobs and over 250 permanent local jobs once it goes live. Also, Caernarvon Township, the host community, is set to receive 2 percent of the mini-casinos slot machine revenue as well as 1 percent of its table game revenue.
Despite all of the niceties that the satellite casino project has been promising, it has been subject to mixed reactions. While many people have acknowledged its significance with regards to the new revenue streams and jobs it will create, a few of the residents that have not been convinced that the project will be a fit for the region’s social environment.