The Daily Collegian has reported that SC Gaming OpCO has clearance to construct a mini-casino in College Township after the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board voted unanimously last Wednesday to approve a Category 4 casino license. With this license, SC Gaming OpCO LLC will be able to offer slot machines and table games to its clients.
It has taken over two years for former Penn State Board of Trustees chairman Ira Lubert to get the green light to begin constructing his casino. The process started with businessman winning the license in September 2020 after bidding $10,000,001 to the cause. Unfortunately, Lubert could not get the license once all appeals were exhausted.
While Pennsylvania regulators approved the license, Lubert still isn’t in the clear. One lawsuit in the courts seeks to invalidate the businessman’s application to a casino.
It will cost around $35 million to build Nittany Mall Casino. If everything goes to plan, the casino will occupy 94,000 square foot space, formerly Macy's Store. The venue is set to become Pennsylvania’s 18th casino, after Parx Casino Shippensburg opens Feb. 3.
The Nittany Mall plan will feature a casino floor housing 30 table games and 750 slot machines. Considering that Bally’s is in partnership with Lubert, the new mini-casino will likely offer sports betting too.
The construction of Nittany Casino is likely to take one year. The casino is expected to provide around 350 permanent jobs once construction of the project is complete.
SC Gaming OpCO LLC presented its floor plans during Wednesday's board meeting. The plan indicates that the new casino will have a main entrance, a sports-themed restaurant, table games, slot machines floor, and a fast food joint.
SC Gaming OpCO LLC Won Auction Round in September 2020
Pennsylvania's gaming expansion of 2017 requires mini casinos or Category 4 casinos to attach themselves to a larger casino. This could be a casino with a Category 2 license (independent casino) or a racetrack holding a Category 1 license.
Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board held several auctions for the existing casinos to bid for Category 4 licenses. Lubert qualified to bid for the casino because he has 3 percent shares in Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh. He won the auction round by bidding over $10 million and chose College Township as the location for his mini-casino.
Lubert also announced that Bally’s Corporation was joining the project, leading to the formation of SC Gaming OpCO LLC. By having a Category 4 casino license, a mini-casino can apply to offer sports betting online. This means that BallyBet has a chance to penetrate the Pennsylvania market.
In fact, BallyBet can still enter the market even if the existing lawsuit blocks the Nittany Mall casino. This is possible because gambling regulators in the state reopened the bidding process for gaming operators outside the Keystone State to apply for an online casino license.
Lubert’s Mini-Casino Is Still Not in the Clear
Cordish Companies has been waging war against Lubert since September 2020. Cordish claims that Lubert violated Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board rules that restrict bidders from teaming up with companies outside the Keystone State before the bidding process is over.
According to Cordish, Lubert partnered with Bally’s before the auction for the mini-casino. Considering that Bally’s is outside the state, Lubert’s bid is ineligible.
Pennsylvania regulators gave Cordish 15 minutes to present its petition before voting to allow Lubert to begin the construction of his mini-casino. The board did not find any reason to deny SC Gaming OpCO a license.