Posted on: December 22, 2021, 02:52h.
Last updated on: December 22, 2021, 03:26h.
Penn National Gaming (PNG) has officially opened its fourth brick-and-mortar casino in Pennsylvania.
Philadelphia Eagles legend Vince Papale rolls the dice on a craps table at Hollywood Casino Morgantown on December 22, 2021. The Pennsylvania casino is the second satellite gaming venue from Penn National Gaming. (Image: WFMZ-TV)
Hollywood Casino Morgantown opened its doors today in Berks County. PNG spent $111 million on the licensing fee and construction of the from-the-ground-up venue, located just off the Pennsylvania Turnpike at the I-176 interchange.
Hollywood Casino Morgantown is equipped with 750 slot machines, 30 table games, and a Barstool Sportsbook. It is PNG’s second Category 4 so-called “satellite casino” in the commonwealth, following Hollywood Casino York, which opened in August.
All gaming at Hollywood Morgantown is outfitted with PNG’s cashless, cardless, and contactless “mywallet” technology. The “mywallet” app is available for Apple and Android mobile devices.
The “mywallet” app can be used at each of Penn’s four casinos in Pennsylvania. In addition to Morgantown and York, Hollywood operates its flagship property in Grantville, just outside Harrisburg, and The Meadows in the western part of the state in Washington.
Penn National Gaming is the oldest gaming operator in Pennsylvania, its roots dating back to the 1960s with the building of Penn National Race Course and its pari-mutuel wagering.
The Wyomissing-based company was adamantly opposed to the state Republican-controlled legislature and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf greatly expanding gaming in 2017. The package that authorized the Category 4 mini-casinos nonetheless passed.
The legislative bundle additionally legalized video gaming terminals inside certain truck stop convenience stores, something Penn also heavily criticized. But some elements were welcomed by the casino operator, most specifically the state approving iGaming and sports betting.
Despite Penn’s hostility to the Category 4 casinos, the company successfully won two of the satellite auction rounds conducted by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). Penn paid a whopping $50.1 million for the York license, and $10.5 million for the Morgantown privileges.
Penn National execs said its York auction bid was necessary to protect York County and northern Maryland, two areas that have been critical feeder markets for its main casino outside Harrisburg. Morgantown will cater to the adjacent counties of Berks, Lebanon, and Lancaster.
PNG’s four casinos reported total GGR of more than $94.2 million in November alone. That was nearly 22 percent of the entire Pennsylvania gaming industry, which won a monthly record $432.5 million last month.
Hollywood Morgantown’s $111 million investment is inclusive of the $10.5 million license. Along with the casino, the satellite brings three casual dining options: Barstool Sportsbook, Tony Luke’s, and Red Lotus Asian Kitchen.
The 80,000-square-foot destination is open 24 hours Friday through Sunday, and 9 am to 4 am daily through the week. Hollywood Morgantown’s workforce numbers approximately 375 people. A smoking section containing 160 slot machines is also available.
Hollywood Morgantown ran two test days last weekend for invited guests. Gross gaming proceeds from the two-day went to local charities, including the United Way of Berks County, Honey Brook Food Pantry, and a foundation that supports first responders and in-need military personnel in the community.
The trial days raised $89,000. Penn National rounded up to $100,000, the money split between the beneficiaries.