On Tuesday, December 4, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board held a public hearing in Big Beavers to listen to the details of the proposed mini-casino that is to be built by Mount Airy Casino Resort. Mount Airy has been targeting a mid-2020 launch date for its big Beaver mini-casino, a facility that is anticipated to attract customers from as far as the neighboring state of Ohio. During the hearing, the developers of the mini-casino project presented a summary of the 4000-page application that they had submitted to the state gaming control board at the Big Beaver fire hall.
In February, Mount Airy was selected as one of the winning bidders for the construction of one of five mini-casinos across the Keystone State. The casino operator’s $21,888,888.88 bid for the development of a gaming facility on 100 acres of land in Big Beaver, just of Interstate 376 was the winning bid. The site that the developer has its sights set on is located just a 30-minute drive from Youngstown, Ohio and is a 45-minute drive away from Pittsburgh – the operator is hopeful that, considering the sites’ proximity to Youngstown which has over 500,000 residents, the gaming facility will be able to draw in visitors from Ohio.
The gaming facility is expected to create 500 full-time jobs once it launches and 250 construction jobs during the development phase. The 500+ full-time employees will be assigned to different areas of the mini-casino including the gaming floor which will host 750 slot machines and 30 table games. Other workers will also be tasked with manning the day to day operations of the dining and entertainment options that will also be part of the mini-casino.
Big Beaver also stands to gain in a big way once the satellite casino goes live – early projections estimate that Mount Airy Pittsburgh will generate $400,000 every year to Big Beaver. This is about of the borough’s annual budget, the maximum amount that is allowed by the state’s gaming laws.
Mixed Public Reactions
The members of the Beaver County community who attended the Tuesday hearing were able to voice their opinions regarding the proposed mini-casino. Most of them expressed their support for the plan citing the fact that the project would definitely create jobs quickly and generate revenue for local communities. Patrick Burke, Mount Airy’s Vice President of Finance assured those in attendance that the right actions would be taken to ensure that local Beaver County workers get the bulk of the available jobs.
Some concerns were also raised with the most significant one coming from the state regulator’s board members who were concerned that the county might not be able to provide enough construction workers for the mini-casino project since there is another high-profile development project in the works. Some residents also objected the plans saying that the mini-casino would hurt their local businesses due to its inclusive nature.
Now that all of that has been taken into account, that gaming control board will review the public comments made in relation to the mini-casino project before the final decision arrives.