PGCB Issues License for Parx, Pennsylvania’s Fourth Mini-Casino

The 73,000 sq ft Parx Casino Shippensburg will include 500 slot machines, electronic table games, and a restaurant and sports bar. The gaming operator anticipates a late 2022 launch.
PGCB Issues License for Parx, Pennsylvania's Fourth Mini-Casino
By
January 21, 2022

The expansion of casino gaming in Pennsylvania continues with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) voting unanimously to award a new Category 4 casino license to Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment, which operates Parx Casino.

The license allows Greenwood to build a mini-casino — Parx Casino Shippensburg — in a township of the same name in Cumberland County. The new property will be about two-and-a-half hours west of Parx’s flagship casino in Bensalem, PA.

The licensing process for this mini-casino began in February 2018, when Greenwood first filed their request. The company won a bid worth more than $8.1 million for a Category 4 casino and initially applied to open it in a different location, the former Lowe’s home supply store in Shippen Towne Center.

The application process would have likely concluded earlier had the company not changed its location. After doing their due diligence and collecting public input from the local community, PGCB members were satisfied that the license could be issued.

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A Category 4 license allows an operator to open a mini-casino with up to 750 slot machines. Greenwood also petitioned the PGCB to allow for 30 casino tables for an additional fee of $2.5 million, with a chance to add 10 more tables within a year. The company’s requests were all approved.

Parx will be the fourth mini-casino in the state. The facility should create 175 construction jobs through this year, with a grand opening planned for later in 2022. Once launched, the casino should employ around 125 people full-time.

According to details of the PGCB’s report, the Shippensburg mini-casino will stretch across 73,000 square feet and include around 500 slot machines, electronic table games, and a restaurant and sports bar at launch.

Expansion of Mini-Casinos in Pennsylvania

While Pennsylvania hosts bigger casinos in its large urban centers, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, the PGCB has also issued several licenses for mini-casinos in the smaller counties across the state. The premise behind authorizing smaller facilities was to provide local populations with a chance to enjoy casino games without having to travel to the big cities.

The upcoming Shippensburg Township casino will be the fourth mini-casino of this kind in Pennsylvania, with three others already operating in the Keystone State. PA’s very first mini-casino — Live! Pittsburgh — was opened by The Cordish Companies in November 2020.

The second arrived almost a year later when Penn National Gaming launched Hollywood Casino York in August 2021. Penn National also launched PA’s third and most recent mini-casino — Hollywood Casino Morgantown — in November 2021.

Last month, Gaming and Leisure Properties — a spinoff of Penn National — agreed to purchase three casinos from The Cordish Companies, including Live! Pittsburgh, for $1.8 billion. The deal is expected to close in early 2022.

Casino gaming in Pennsylvania continues to grow with each passing year, with mini-casinos raking in tens of millions in revenue on a yearly basis.

The PGCB is careful about issuing mini-casino licenses, however, making sure they are not harming other businesses or local communities in the process. It is this due diligence that makes acquiring a mini-casino license relatively slow for would-be operators.

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