Parx Casino Shippensburg is set to become the fourth Category 4 “mini-casino” to open in Pennsylvania come February 2023.
Parx, owned and operated by privately held Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment, runs its flagship Parx Casino north of Philadelphia in Bensalem. The company is embarking on its first expansion of gaming by way of Shippensburg some 40 miles southwest of the Harrisburg capital.
Parx Casino is expanding! In February 2023, Parx will be opening another location in Shippensburg, Pa.,” the Bensalem casino posted on Facebook this week.
The company did not provide a specific date for the February commencement of its Shippensburg operations.
The 73,000-square-foot Parx Shippensburg Casino is being built inside what was formerly a Lowe’s home improvement store. The facility will open with 500 slot machines and 48 electronic table game positions, plus a 100-seat restaurant and sports bar with self-service sports betting kiosks. No live dealer table games will initially be offered.
Pennsylvania authorized Category 4 mini-casinos in 2017 through its gaming expansion package. The satellite developments were initially made available only to Pennsylvania’s current casino operators.
Parx secured its satellite casino permit by winning the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s Category 4 auction round in February 2018 with a winning bid of $8.1 million. The company targeted Shippensburg Township for its satellite project after the college town opted to stay in the mini-casino host location pool.
Shippensburg is best known for its public university. Shippensburg University is a member of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, one of 10 state-owned colleges in the commonwealth. Ship, as the college is affectionally known, has about 7,000 undergrads and 1,300 postgraduate students.
Parx Shippensburg will open just off Interstate 81 adjacent to the area’s local Walmart Supercenter. The casino is less than two miles from the Shippensburg University campus.
Shippensburg Township officials have long wanted to bet on a casino to deliver the local area new tax revenue.
“We’re kind of excited,” Steve Oldt, Shippensburg Township supervisor, said in 2018 after Parx pinpointed Shippensburg for its mini-casino.
Satellites Faring Well
Pennsylvania’s satellite casinos are to serve as affiliates of the larger Category 2 parent casinos. The smaller venues are paying dividends for the companies that bet heavily on their success.
Penn Entertainment, then Penn National Gaming, won Pennsylvania’s first Category 4 auction round in January 2018 with a $50.1 million bid. The company secured a second mini-casino license during a later bidding round with a $10.5 million tender.
Penn Entertainment opened Hollywood York at a total cost, inclusive of the licensing fee, of $120 million in August 2021. Hollywood Morgantown along the Pennsylvania Turnpike opened at a cost of $111 million a year ago this month.
The Cordish Companies, which owns Live! Casino Philadelphia, is the only other casino operator in Pennsylvania to open a satellite. The Baltimore-based gaming company opened Live! Casino Pittsburgh outside the Steel City in Westmoreland in November 2020.
Live! Pittsburgh and Hollywood York respectively won $85 million and $25.3 million on their slot machines last year. Table game win totaled $14.7 million and $6.8 million. Sports bets added another $1.6 million and $1 million for the satellites.
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