Pennsylvania’s gambling landscape grew a bit on Thursday after Penn National Gaming (Nasdaq: PENN) celebrated the grand opening of its $120 million Hollywood Casino York. The state’s newest casino is located in Springettsbury Township at the western end of the Galleria Mall in a space formerly occupied by a Sears department store.
Prior to the doors of the 80,000 sq ft “mini-casino,” opening to the public, a morning ribbon cutting ceremony was hosted by area dignitaries, state gaming officials and legislators, and the Wyomissing-based company’s Executive Vice President of Operations, Todd George, who said in his official welcoming speech…
“We’re thrilled to be opening our 43rd property in North America, our third in the Commonwealth, and showcasing Hollywood Casino York’s unique style of premier gaming, dining and entertainment in a truly modern atmosphere. Importantly, it has been an honor to be welcomed by Springettsbury Township and the surrounding communities, creating new jobs and starting a new economic engine right here in York County.”
Gaming and sportsbook:
Penn’s third gaming and entertainment venue in the Keystone State has approximately 38,000 square feet of gaming, including more than 500 reel, progressive, video slots and video poker machines ranging in denomination from one cent to $100, along with 24 table games offering blackjack, craps, roulette, and house-banked card games such as Cajun Stud and High Card Flush. Six more table games, including a pair of electronic games, are to reportedly be added in the near future while the casino’s gaming positions could grow to 750 slots and 40 table games.
The facility is also home to the state’s first retail Barstool Sportsbook, which features a massive 9-foot-tall by 32-foot-wide video wall for a total of 125 TVs, a fully serviced walk-up sports wagering area, and self-serve sports and horse racing betting kiosks, as well as a full-service sports bar with bar-top video poker.
Hollywood Casino York also uses “cardless, cashless, contactless mywallet” technology, which allows patrons to use their smartphones to conduct cashless transactions at table games and slot machines. The “3C” digital advance also makes a rewards card unnecessary as patrons can likewise use their smart device at the slots and tables.
Lauding the new technology as “a revolutionary enhancement for our industry,” George also thanked the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) for their support and their technology partners Everi Holdings and Acres Manufacturing.
“This technology further supports Penn National’s omnichannel business approach where we are providing the best experiences, whether people are playing with us at our properties or on our numerous online offerings.”
In addition to all of the gambling action, Hollywood Casino York also offers guests both casual and quick eats dining options via Dinner & Drinks and Classic Grille.
About 290 people are employed by the gaming and entertainment facility, which generated some 230 construction jobs. The casino is open 7 days a week and 24 hours on the weekends to those 21 and older.
PGCB approval and enabling legislation:
In December 2019, Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing Association, LLC, a subsidiary of Penn National Gaming, was granted a license to construct the satellite or “Category 4” casino in Springettsbury Township after winning a $50.1 million bid via auction in January 2018, giving the company a 15-mile radius to build the facility.
As part of the state’s October 2017 gambling expansion law, Pennsylvania was supposed to gain as many as 10 new satellite casinos, also called mini casinos, that can feature between 300 and 750 slot machines and possibly up to 40 table games. However, that plan hasn’t exactly panned out.
Expectations not realized:
Only a handful of potential sites were auctioned before the market turned ice cold and license auctions were halted. Looming budget shortfalls saw another auction on September 2, 2020, however. Long story short, only Penn National’s Hollywood Casino York and The Cordish Companies’ Live! Casino Pittsburgh, located in the Westmoreland Mall in Hempfield Township have come to fruition so far.
Later this year, Penn National, which is also responsible for the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Grantville and the Meadows Racetrack & Casino in Washington, Pa., plans to open a second mini-casino, Hollywood Casino Morgantown, in Berks County.
Meanwhile, Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment Inc., which operates Parx Casino in Bensalem, awaits license approval for its own mini-casino project, the Parx Casino Shippensburg in Cumberland County. A hearing on the project was conducted by the PGCB on May 20th, 2021.
A public hearing for a fifth mini-casino project to be located in a former Macy’s Store in the Nittany Mall in College Township, planned by Philadelphia investor Ira Lubert for his SC Gaming Op Co., LLC, has been scheduled for Monday, August 16, 2021.