Parx Mini Casino Plans at Risk Due to Geological Issues

In Pennsylvania, major changes have been taking shape within the state’s gambling industry. In late 2017, several additions were approved for the gambling industry as a whole and steps are now begin taken to see the plans come to life. One instance is satellite casinos, or mini gaming venues. These small spaces will be created by gambling operators that secured the appropriate licensing, like Parx Casino. Proposals must be made and locations chosen and approved before construction can begin. Parx has chosen their location but recent geological testing may put a halt in the satellite casino construction plans.

Stability Issues

Parx Casino would like to create their smaller venus in Shippensburg, in an area near I-81 at Exit 29. The area has been tested and reports show a strong likelihood of sinkhole development. The proposed location reportedly is not geologically stable and could lead to issues if a casino were to be constructed on the spot.

A state Geological Survey publication revealed that a sinkhole can form rapidly and is characterized by a distinct break in the surface of the land as well as downward movement of surface materials which creates the hole.

A map was revealed during the survey that includes Shippensburg where a rock formation consisting of limestone exists and has been prone to making sinkholes. Caves are prominent in the area due to the material and the creation of holes or cavities. The creation of sinkholes has also been accelerated due to acid rain that is created from pollution. The rain falls into fissures of the material and creates problems for the bedrock.

Working on a Resolution

Parx has already been given approval to go ahead with Shippensburg, so they are hoping to make the location work. According to Marc Oppenheimer, the Chief Marketing Officer for Parx, the original site has developed significant issues and they are currently working with the community as well as local leaders to find alternatives in the area.

According to the state Gaming Control Board, Parx had not talked to them about issues with the site. If an alternative location must be used, a new public hearing would likely have to be scheduled and the spot approved before the company could move forward with construction.

Parx has had difficulty finding spots for their mini gaming venue. Previously, the parent company of the brand, Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment, had considered Carlisle and South Middleton Township for the casino. They were unsuccessful in using these areas for their satellite venue.

The location will be home to 475 slot games as well as 40 table games. The casino would also be home to a sports betting lounge.

So far, the plans for any mini casino in the state are slow going. While five locations have been approved, it seems only the Hollywood Casino Morgantown is moving their project along. For Parx Casino, it will be a waiting game to see if a solution can be found to avoid any sinkhole issues while still creating their new casino in the Shippensburg region.


Logan is based in Los Angeles and is an avid poker player having played in tournaments across the globe. He covers both poker & regulatory affairs.