Parx Casino Shippensburg officially has a gaming license. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) voted unanimously yesterday to award Parx Casino a Category 4 gaming license for its reimagining of a former Lowe’s home improvement store into a casino.
Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment, the parent company of Parx Casino in Bensalem, just north of Philadelphia, won a Category 4 auction round in 2018. Greenwood’s bid of $8,111,000 million for the permit was the high offer. Each satellite must be tethered to a larger Category 2 casino.
Greenwood selected Shippensburg Township for its so-called mini-casino. Shippensburg officials opted to stay in the Category 4 casino pool of possible host locations.
The former Lowe’s, where Parx Casino Shippensburg will transform the big box store into a boutique casino space, is located at 250 Conestoga Drive. Greenwood plans to invest $65 million to transform the retail center into a casino facility.
The board’s approval of the license comes after much opposition presented from the local Shippensburg community regarding the casino proposal. The main argument is that such a gambling location should not be located so close to a state university. The Shippensburg University campus is less than two miles from where the Parx casino will operate.
Pennsylvania expanded its gaming industry in 2017 with a major legislative package that authorized sports betting, iGaming, truck stop video gaming terminals (VGTs), airport gaming lounges, and as many as 10 Category 4 satellite casinos.
The satellites are permitted to house up to 750 slot machines. For an initial allotment of 30 table games, the Category 4 business must pay the state an additional $2.5 million.
Parx Shippensburg officials told the PGCB this week that its initial plans call for 500 slot machines and an indeterminate number of electronic table games. A restaurant and sports bar are also in the works. However, the establishment will be a smoke-free venue.
The 73,000-square-foot casino is expected to create 175 construction jobs and 125 full-time permanent positions. Parx Casino Shippensburg hopes to open by the end of the year.
As for sports betting, Parx says it’s holding off for now. At its Philadelphia casino, the Parx Sportsbook is powered by GAN, a British-based third-party gaming firm that provides turnkey sportsbook products.
Three Category 4 satellite casinos in Pennsylvania are open for play.
Live! Casino Pittsburgh in Westmoreland was the first to welcome gamblers in November of 2020. Hollywood Casino York was next, the Penn National property commencing operations last August.
Penn National opened Hollywood Casino Morgantown last month in southern Berks County, along the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
The satellites are helping give new life to vacant malls and shopping centers. Live! Casino Pittsburgh took the place of a former Bon-Ton department store. Hollywood York replaced a former Sears.
Along with Parx Shippensburg renovating a Lowe’s, another satellite casino near Penn State University is targeting a shuttered Macy’s for its project. Only Hollywood Morgantown resulted in a new, from-the-ground-up, building.
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