Pennsylvania Approves New Casino Near PSU

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board voted unanimously on Jan. 25 to award a Category 4 slot machine license to SC Gaming OpCo, LLC to construct a Category 4 casino in College Township, Centre County.

Penn State University is partially in the township.

The award concludes a process the PGCB began on Sept. 2, 2020, when businessman Ira Lubert secured the right to locate a casino with a winning bid of $10,000,101 at a Category 4 auction held that day by the Board.

Lubert then filed an application in January 2021 to locate the casino in a 94,000-square-foot space that formerly housed Macy’s Department Store at the Nittany Mall located along College Avenue in College Township.

The PGCB conducted an in-depth background investigation of the application and collected public input from citizens, community groups and public officials. This was accomplished through a public input hearing held in College Township on Aug. 16, 2021 and the receipt of written comments through Jun. 12, 2022.

On Jan. 25, regulators held a final licensing hearing in which representatives of SC Gaming OpCo, LLC were questioned about the project.

A Category 4 Slot Machine License permits the entity to operate between 300 and 750 slot machines. The entity could also petition for permission to operate up to 30 table games for an additional fee of $2.5 million, with the capability of adding 10 tables games after its first year of operation.

The casino, which Bally’s Corporation will operate, will offer at opening 750 slot machines, 30 table games, and retail facility sports wagering.

Upfront construction costs are estimated at $35 million, and the project expects to support the equivalent of 350 full-time construction jobs.

No target date for opening has been set, but SC Gaming representatives told the Board it would expect construction to last approximately 12 months when begun.

The new casino comes at a record-breaking time for legal gambling in the Keystone State. In the calendar year 2022, the combined revenue of slot machines, table games, sports wagering, online casino, video gaming terminals (VGTs) and fantasy contests totaled $5,211,303,191. That was up compared to $4,734,552,201 in 2021.