Penn National finalizing plans for mini-casino at York Galleria

After months of anticipation, Penn National Gaming will announce its decision next week on a location for a mini-casino in York County, most likely at the York Galleria mall.

All signs point to the former Sears department store at the York Galleria in Springettsbury Township.

Penn National spokesman Eric Schippers said Thursday that an option to lease the space from mall owner CBL Properties is currently being finalized. The plan is to build a casino, dubbed Hollywood Casino York, on the first floor of the vacant Sears store, he said.

“We believe this location, together with our second Category 4 license in Berks County, will provide us a great opportunity to generate new revenues in the commonwealth while protecting our existing market share in Central Pennsylvania,” Schippers said.

Penn National paid $50.1 million for the right to build a casino in York County. The decision was made as a way for Penn National to protect its investments in Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Dauphin County from other casino operators. The company then won a second mini-casino auction near the border of Berks and Lancaster counties.

CBL spokeswoman Stacey Keating confirmed the lease option at the Galleria.

“If approved, this new casino will spur significant economic growth for the region, generating substantial tax revenue and creating hundreds of jobs,” she said. “This addition would also be a boon to the entire property, driving additional traffic and sales.”

A formal announcement is expected on Sept. 12, Schippers said. That is the Berks County company’s last day to file an application with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board for the license it won at auction in January.

Over the summer, Penn National took advantage of the one-time two-month extension under state law, pushing its original deadline for application back to Sept. 12 from July 12.

Meanwhile, other casino operators awarded mini-casino licenses have been announcing plans for their own gambling parlors.

These smaller gambling parlors can house 300 to 750 slot machines and up to 40 table games. Mini-casinos were introduced as part of a gambling expansion bill signed into law last year by Gov. Tom Wolf.

Five of 10 available licenses have been auctioned off. A Carbon County lawmaker has proposed legislation to auction off the other five.

Jason Scott
Jason Scott covers state government, real estate and construction, media and marketing, and Dauphin and Cumberland counties. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jscott@cpbj.com.

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