After filing an application for its mini-casino last September, nearly a year later, Penn National Gaming, Inc. (PENN: Nasdaq) appears to be nearing its goal to see its planned Hollywood Casino York become a reality.
Governor, Tom Wolf, authorized what are known as Category 4 casinos, as part of gambling expansion legislation signed into law on October 30, 2017, allowing for up to 10 permits for the satellite casinos.
According to a recent report from the York Dispatch…
…on Thursday, the Wyomissing-headquartered casino and racetrack operator’s redevelopment plan was approved by the Springettsbury Board of Supervisors. The company is looking to build a mini-casino at the York Galleria Mall in a space once occupied by Sears.
In addition to signage, the vote by the board ratified items such as landscaping, changes to parking and a 3,000 sq ft building addition where a stairwell and elevator providing access to the casino would be located.
The decision on Thursday was just one of several votes that would need approval from the board of supervisors prior to Penn National being able to move forward with the $120 million casino (which includes the $52.6 million in slots and table games license fees paid), according to officials.
On second thought:
While Springettsbury Township was initially against a mini-casino, it later reconsidered. And the unanimous vote, said a member of the board, Justin Tomevi, was an indication that the township is “comfortable with the project moving forward.”
Assuming Penn gets the nod for licensing and building, it anticipates the construction timeline for Hollywood Casino York to be between 12-18 months and to open with some 500 slot machines and 20 table games. The operator says the gaming facility is designed to eventually house as many as 750 slot machines and 40 table games.
The PA mini-casinos can operate between 300 and 750 slot machines and as many as 30 table games.
The Galleria site was selected by the operator of Grantville’s Hollywood Casino in September 2018, after winning the right to place a casino in York County with a $50.1 million winning bid on January 10 last year.
According to Fox 43, Penn wrote in a statement…
“We appreciate both Springettsbury Township and the gaming board’s patience with us as we finalize the necessary details. the process to redevelop an existing location that we are leasing is complex and takes more time to finalize than building a new facility on land that we own outright.”
Those opposed to the casino voiced their concerns at Thursday’s meeting, with the traffic congestion and overall safety issues taking center stage. Residents spoke of the township being “family-oriented” and not wanting to see traffic “traveling up and down” the roads.
However, company officials reportedly say that traffic flow issues should be aided by its plan to make the intersection at Whiteford Road into a right in and right out turning lane. Additionally, a top priority would be full-time security, with nearly 900 cameras throughout the property.
The casino, according to Penn National, is expected to bring with it 200 full-time positions with an average salary of $45,000 a year, along with a boost in tourism and nearly $1 million annually in tax revenue to the township that takes its name from Springett Penn, grandson of the Commonwealth‘s founder William Penn.
The governor of PA signed a far-reaching revenue package into law on Oct 30, 2017, that included expanded gambling in the state and on Jan 10 the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board opened the bidding process to allow 10 of the state’s existing casinos to open so-called mini-casinos.