Penn National Gaming, the parent company of Hollywood Casino Grantville is reportedly set to pick its first mini casino location during a September 12 meeting that will be hosted by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). This is going to be the first Category 4 casino in Southeastern Pennsylvania and is, therefore, a considerably big deal especially considering some of the things that are at stake.
In January, Penn National Gaming won the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s inaugural Category 4 casino auction when it bid a whopping $50 million for the right to pick the location for an authorized property within a 15-mile radius of York County where its main operation in the state is centered. So far, everything seems to be going quite well – this includes its other operations including its pending acquisition of Pinnacle Entertainment which just recently received an approval from the Missouri Gaming Commission. The $2.8 billion acquisition deal spans a number of other jurisdictions which will significantly boost the company’s business model.
As it stands, there are two potential sites that are presumably being eyed by the company. These include the commercial storefront within the York Galleria shopping center and the Hellam Township historical Underground Railroad site. Penn National may finally be set to decide on the preferred location for its mini casino since it has previously been granted a two-month extension beginning July to collaborate with their prospective landlords.
Officials from the municipalities of the aforementioned properties (Hellam Township and Springettsbury Township) have previously placed themselves on the PCGB Opt-Out List – however, they have since managed to successfully petition the PGCB for a one-time removal. It is therefore very likely that this will have an impact on the decision that the operator will make.
“We wanted additional time to conduct further analysis on the sites and expect to make a final decision in the near future,” Penn National Gaming spokesman Jeff Morris said in July. “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.”
The parcel of land that Penn National Gaming is eyeing in Hellam Township is part of a small Industrial Park area in York County that local officials rezoned two decades and is where the Mifflin House sits. In July, a demolition permit for the property was revoked by the York County Common Pleas Court which means it is very important to the locals. If it chooses the site, Penn National will be obligated preserving and maintaining the historical landmark.
As for York Galleria, the Category 4 mini-casino will definitely be a welcome development for the county – its economy has suffered a lot since the 2008 economic recession. Still, we will just have to wait and see how the September 12 PGCB meeting goes. Meanwhile, more focus should be on the operator’s sports betting bid.