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Pennsylvania approves license for new Bally’s casino


The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) voted unanimously to award a license to SC Gaming OpCo to construct a new land-based casino in College Township, Centre County.

Ira Lubert, owner of SC Gaming OpCo, secured the rights to construct a casino at the site in September 2020 with a winning bid of $10.0m. Lubert filed an application with the PGCB in January of 2021 to locate the casino in a 94,000sq ft space that formerly housed Macy’s Department Store at the Nittany Mall.

Following an in-depth background investigation of the application, the PGCB held a final licensing hearing to issue the license to the new casino, which will be operated by Bally’s Corporation.

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

According to information presented today to the PGCB, the new casino will feature 750 slot machines, 30 table games, a retail facility sports wagering, a stage for live music and special events, and food and beverage outlets.

Upfront construction costs are estimated at $35.0m, while it is expected that the casino will create 350 construction jobs, as well as 350 full-time jobs when open.

SC Gaming did not set a target date for opening, but did state then when construction work begins, the project would take approximately 12 months to complete.

Regulatory action

Meanwhile, the PGCB banned four adults from entering licensed casinos in the state after they were placed on its Involuntary Exclusion List for leaving children unattended to gamble in casinos.

A male patron left five children, including an infant, in the food court of Valley Forge Casino Resort to gamble for one hour and 12 minutes at slot machines.

Another male consumer left a 12-year-old  in a vehicle in the parking lot of the same casino for five minutes to wager at the venue’s sportsbook.

A third male attempted to enter Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack with his 13-year-old child, claiming it was his brother. After being denied entry, the customer left the child in a vehicle in the venue’s parking garage, before returning to the casino to bet at the sportsbook for 15 minutes.

Finally, a female patron was found to have left a two-year-old and 14-year-old unattended in a vehicle in the parking lot of Mohegan Pennsylvania Casino for more than two hours while she played slot machines inside.

In addition, the PGCB denied requests to be removed from its Involuntary Exclusion List from two female adults, who were added to the list in 2020 for separate incidents involving a total of three children left unattended to gamble in casinos.

During 2022, the PGCB identified 303 incidents of adults leaving children unattended to gamble at Pennsylvania casinos involving 486 minors.