Third Mini Casino License Approved in Pennsylvania

Last week, Pennsylvania saw a third mini casino license approved by the state Gaming Control Board. Penn National Gaming’s plan to build a satellite casino at the York Galleria Mall is now a go, with the company’s Hollywood Casino having leased the building last year.

Second Mall Spot

The approval for the casino to be at the York Galleria marks the second time that a mini casino was approved for a former mall location. The Hollywood venue will be constructed within a former Sears Department store.

With the popularity of online shopping, department stores have been closing nationwide. The large empty spaces are perfect locations for the mini casino venues, as they already have the space as well as parking lots for customers. Another mini casino will be created in the Westmoreland Mall by another operator.

For the Penn National venue, the casino is titled Hollywood Casino York. The facility should open in a year or so, with officials set t offer a single gaming floor with 500 slot machines and 24 table games. The property will also be home to a sportsbook and off-track betting facility along with dining choices.

With the construction of the property, as many as 260 construction jobs should be created. Once the venue is fully operational, around 200 people will make up the work force. The facility is expected to generate as much as $1 million in taxes and fees for the host community, the Springettsbury Township.

New Gaming Offering

In Pennsylvania, the satellite or mini casinos are a new expansion for the state’s gaming industry. Approved in 2017, the facilities have yet to be operational. It has taken time for operators to bid on the Category 4 licensing and earn approvals for the location of the venues. For license holders, the smaller casinos can only be home to as many as 750 slot games and 30 table games.

With the bidding process, the state earned $127 million in fees. The bids had to start at $7.5 million and in the beginning, big bids were placed for the licensing. The first was a whopping $50.1 million. In the end, as the licensing process winded down, as little as $7.5 million earned a license.

So far, two other operators have been approved by the board for their facility locations. Penn National has another mini casino in the works, this time in Berks County. This facility will be known as Hollywood Casino Morgantown. In November, Stadium Casino LL C held a ground-breaking ceremony for their Live! Casino Pittsburgh. This is the other facility which will be located in a mall setting.

Now, the only operator who needs approval is Parx Casino. They have proposed a facility in Shippensburg, however, the plans for the venue have come to a halt after sinkholes were reported. The operator must now find a new location in order to move forward with their mini casino plans.

Once all the mini casinos are up and running, Pennsylvania will be able to offer even more to gamblers in their state.


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.