The casino in the Nittany Mall will be built despite the aggressive campaign against it.
The strong opposition:
Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) approved the casino in January, but the anti-casino movement is still strong in the area. Andrew Shaffer, a movement leader, collected thousands of signatures against the project in the State College area.
The main belief of the ones that are against the casino is that it will negatively affect Penn State students and drain the state’s economy.
The residents felt like they weren’t included in the process when the voting for this “mini-casino” took place.
However, despite all efforts, the casino will be opened. Residents think that the main reason lies in the growing pressure from the gambling industry, but the laws support the casino opening. The state law from 2017 guaranteed that the College Township agreed to the casino building before even the license was granted. But in the meanwhile, ten mini-casino licenses were granted to casinos in Pennsylvania, which opened the doors to building casinos all over the state.
At the time, every municipality in the state had a right to decide if they wanted to host a casino on their territory – but once they decided that they did want it, there wasn’t any chance of withdrawal. College Township decided that it wanted a casino a long ago – and now the opponents can’t do anything about it.
In September 2020, a former member of the Board of Trustees in Pennsylvania, Ira Lubert, won an auction that granted him a casino license and decided to build a casino in the municipality. The first public hearing about this major project for the region was held in August 2021. However, Shaffer thinks that the date was carefully chosen to hinder people from participating in the hearing since many of them were out of town at the moment. The public input period lasted longer than 30 days, which is usually the case, which led to not allowing comments on the last hearing from January.
Two lawsuits against the company:
SC Gaming will be in charge of building the mini-casino, and the only things that can potentially harm the building of the casino are two court cases filed by Cordish Companies against the PGCB. Cordish Companies is the owner of the Stadium Casino, which lost the bid for one of the licenses three years ago.
Cordish filed one lawsuit because SC Gaming is collaborating with Bally’s Corporation, and that partnership took place after the auction was won, so Cordish thinks that the company had a financial boost from Bally’s to get the right for a license, which can completely disqualify the company from bidding for the license.
Another lawsuit is filed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and it is an appeal to the license. The Court hasn’t made a decision about this case yet.
If the Court votes in favor of Cordish, the company will have to find another location for its casino, and the license will be revoked.