Hollywood Casino Grantville parent company Penn National Gaming is expected to choose its first mini casino location during a September 12th PGCB public meeting.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is scheduled to consider southeastern PA’s first Category 4 casino license on Wednesday, September 12th, as Penn National Gaming submits its choice for a York County location it spent $50 million to secure.
Penn National won the PGCB’s inaugural satellite casino auction in January by bidding an eyebrow-raising $50 million for the right to choose an authorized property within a 15-mile radius of its York County “center point.” Its pending acquisition of Pinnacle Entertainment also appears to be progressing after receiving approval from the Missouri Gaming Commission to move forward on the $2.8 billion deal that spans multiple jurisdictions.
Potential sites for the mini casino include a Hellam Township historical Underground Railroad site known as the Mifflin House along with a commercial storefront within the York Galleria shopping center.
The company, which operates Hollywood Casino in Grantville (near the state capital of Harrisburg), received PGCB approval to extend its application deadline from July for a period of two months as it collaborates with prospective landlords.
“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 told the York Daily Record 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.”
However, no additional application extensions will be permitted, per Pennsylvania House Bill 271 (Page 577, Line 20). Failing to submit an application by September 12th would result in total forfeiture of the $50 million paid to the state back in January (Page 577, Line 25).
Officials from both municipalities (Springettsbury Township and Hellam Township) originally placed themselves on the PGCB Opt-Out List, but have since successfully petitioned the Board for a one-time removal.
Upon license approval, a Pennsylvaia CAT 4 property may operate between 300-750 slot machine terminals along with an unspecified number of table games.
Penn National Gaming — Possible CAT 4 Location — Mifflin House
The Mifflin House is a historical Underground Railroad site that was used leading up to the U.S. Civil War, and is located in Hellam Township (population 6,000) near Wrightsville off of Route 30.
The parcel of land in question would be part of a small Industrial Park area in York County that was re-zoned by local officials two decades ago.
A demolition permit for the property was denied by the York County Common Pleas Court in July, meaning that Penn National Gaming would be required to preserve and maintain the existing landmark if it chooses the site as its first satellite casino location.
Penn National Gaming — Possible CAT 4 Location — York Galleria
York Galleria in Springettsbury Township is among the list of candidates to house a Pennsylvania Category 4 facility owned by Penn National — a decision which could significantly improve the prospects of a commercial center was recently featured on the Dead Malls YouTube channel.
Once a haven for commercial foot traffic, shopping centers throughout the county have suffered greatly since the 2008 economic recession. This has left retailers with little option but to slash prices or shut their doors completely as Americans seek out other forms of entertainment aside from purchasing common utility items at nosebleed markup.
According to its official website, York Galleria currently leases to three featured tenants (Hennes & Mauritz, Gold’s Gym, and Boscov’s) along with 90 active store owners, but closes its doors to the public at 9:00pm local time most days of the week.
Could Penn National Use a “Temporary” Site for its Mini Casino?
House Bill 271 allows Pennsylvania land-based casinos — upon receiving Category 4 license approval by the PGCB — to designate a “temporary” site for its operations “for a period not to exceed 18 months” (Pages 574-575, Line 28).
Such a clause could be key if Penn National decides to opt for the Mifflin House location or another site that may be require the property to be refurbished before a permanent opening.
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