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Bally’s to construct new Category 4 PA venue through Lubert deal


US casino operator Bally’s Corporation has revealed plans to expand operations into Pennsylvania after setting out proposals to open a new land-based venue and launch sports betting and igaming in the state.

Working in partnership with real estate and private equity investor, and former Valley Forge Casino owner, Ira Lubert, Bally’s plans to jointly design, develop, construct and manage a new Category 4 licensed casino.

Lubert successfully bid for the right to apply for a Category 4 Slot Machine License for a casino to be built within a 15-mile radius of Unionville Borough in Centre County, Pennsylvania in September last year.

Construction is set to start the first half of 2021 and will take approximately a year to complete. The new facility will feature up to 750 slot machines and 30 table games, as well as offer retail sports betting, online sports betting and online gaming.

Bally’s said the project, which remains subject to the receipt of certain regulatory approvals, operating certificates and other customary closing conditions, will cost approximately $120m.

The agreement with Ira Lubert will see Bally’s acquire a majority equity interest in the partnership, including 100% of the economic interests of retail and online sports betting, as well as igaming activities.

“Expanding our rapidly growing, national footprint into the attractive Pennsylvania gaming market represents yet another major milestone for Bally’s and a great way to cap off a truly extraordinary year,” Bally’s president and chief executive George Papanier said.

“Regional, land-based casinos remain the cornerstone of our portfolio diversification strategy, providing the necessary support for the growth, development and success of our future sports betting and igaming initiatives.”

Ira Lubert added: “I am excited to have Bally’s as our partner to complement our vision, industry experience and financing capabilities. Together, I believe we will make this transformative project successful for all stakeholders and look forward to the positive impact the redevelopment will have on the community.”

The PGCB held an auction for a new Category 4 Slot Machine License in the state in September last year. The winning bid for the auction was $7.5m, though Lubert must also pay a further $2.5m to add up to 30 table games, with an additional 10 after its first year of operation.

Mount Airy Casino Resorts previously applied for the license and won an auction in 2018 with a winning price of $21.2m for a Big Beaver Borough facility, but its application was later denied.

Bally’s Corporation is the new operating name of Twin River Worldwide Holdings, with the latter having acquired the Bally’s brand from Caesars Entertainment in October last year.