The Penn State College community has sternly opposed the construction of a Penn State casino near Penn State University. Surprisingly, the university hasn't expressed its opinion about the proposed project despite being an influential entity in Centre County.
Bally's Corporation proposed to develop a Penn State casino a few minutes' drive from the university. But residents are opposing it.
The interactive entertainment firm wants to spend $123 million to transform a former Macy's department store in Nittany Mall into a Category 4 mini-casino. Penn State's campus in University Park is about three miles from this shopping center.
Bally's got the rights to set up a satellite casino after teaming up with Ira Lubert, a former board trustee and Penn State University alumnus. Lubert was allowed to take part in a Category 4 action in September 2020 due to his former ownership of the Valley Forge Casino Resort. The entrepreneur won a $10 million tender in the auction.
Bally's and Lubert are focusing on Macy's as it has a vast floor space that can fit a sportsbook, 30 table games, and 750 slot machines. But, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) has sent hundreds of letters opposing the casino project.
Today, the letters of support for the casino's support are fewer than those opposing it. Pennsylvania normally fields community input before it approves new brick-and-mortar casinos.
What Is Penn State University's Opinion About It?
The PGCB organized a public input hearing about the Nittany Mall casino proposal in august 2021, and the College Township Council approved Bally's land development plan to change the mall's space in September.
Still, Bally's has to present the 94,000-square foot casino's full plan to the PGCB before Pennsylvania's gaming regulatory agency votes on granting the casino owner a Category 4 license.
The PGCB hasn't yet announced a date for Bally's presentation. Daniel M., a Howard resident, has been at the forefront of criticizing the Penn State casino project. He has crafted many op-eds and letters to the media urging other residents to convince the PGCB to reject Bally's gaming license application.
The resident also commented on Casino.org's casino undertaking coverage. He is urging the university to comment on the issue. Daniel M. wrote a letter that he addressed to Eric Barron, Penn State University's outgoing President, claiming that his silence shows that he wants to pass the issue to the next President.
The letter stated that the current standoff can allow a casino operator to set up a gaming site in the college town will bring chaos in the future. Daniel M. added that Barron should not keep quiet until he retires in May. StateCollege.com published his letter.
The Incoming University President Might Declare Her Stand
Dr. Neeli Bendapudi, the University's President-elect, is expected to take over from Barron next month once he transfers from the University of Louisville. She appears to be an outspoken leader when dealing with community affairs.
The university official recently stated that the State College community should enjoy any local project first before the Commonwealth and other states. Bally's claims that its satellite casino will hire hundreds of Penn State residents.