The group behind a second Philadelphia casino set to open in 2020 is now making plans to build not one, but two new casino properties. Stadium Casino, LLCs $40 million bid to build a satellite casino in Westmoreland County in the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area was the highest of four received by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board this week. The bid was a part of the second in a series of satellite casino project auctions. As a result, it won the auction. Stadium now has two business days to pay the $40,100,005 it bid. Additionally, it has another six months to submit an application for a Category 4 satellite casino slot machine license. Category 4 slot machine licenses permit the operation of between 300 and 750 slot machines. License holders can also apply for permission to operate up to 30 table games for an additional fee of $2.5 million. Additionally, after the first year of operation, ten more table games can be added. Penn National Gaming vs. Pennsylvania In the states first auction held on Jan. 10, a subsidiary of Penn National Gaming that operates Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course was the high bidder. Its $50 million bid is for a satellite casino in York County. York County is just south of the capital city of Harrisburg and north of the Mason-Dixon line. However, Penn National Gaming is also suing the state to have the buffer zones around existing casinos where satellite casinos cannot be built changed to better protect its Hollywood Casino. Stadium Casino, LLC is a joint venture between the Cordish Companies and Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment. Greenwood currently operates Parx Casino just outside Philadelphia. Additionally, Cordish Companies US casino projects include two Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casinos in Hollywood and Tampa, Florida and the Maryland Live! Hotel & Casino in Hanover, Maryland. Philadelphias second casino The joint venture already holds a Category 2 license for a major casino project in Philadelphia. Plans were to open in the first quarter of 2018. However, a legal battle and question regarding casino ownership laws in the state forced delays. Questions arose regarding whether Greenwood principal Watche Bob Manoukians ownership interest in Parx and the new Philadelphia casino project represented a breach of casino ownership laws in the state. However, the state eventually gave Manoukian the thumbs up. Additionally, Philadelphias only other casino, SugarHouse Casino, dropped an appeal of the projects gaming license after the new gambling law changed ownership standards. Ultimately, the company received the gaming license granted to it by the state and a building permit. Construction on the $600 million casino and entertainment complex will begin sometime this year. It will go up at the former Packer Avenue Holiday Inn property located in South Philadelphias sports stadium district. The complex will include a 200-plus room hotel, five restaurants, nightclubs, and a parking garage. Its casino will feature 2,000 slot machines and 125 table games. It will open in 2020. Opening beside the citys sports stadiums should make it a true destination for fans of gambling and sports. Owners claim it will be the first comprehensive gaming, resort, entertainment, and sports destination in the US. The Pittsburgh-area gaming market Satduimss satellite casino will obviously be much smaller in scale and scope. However, it does represent a move into the Pittsburgh-area gaming market. Pittsburgh is Pennsylvanias second-largest city. SugarHouse Casino owners Rush Street Gaming already have a stronghold on the intersection of sports and gambling there. In fact, its Rivers Casino Pittsburgh is in the citys North Shore neighborhood, just a short walk from Heinz Field. The 68,400-seat Heinz Field stadium is home to the Pittsburgh Steelers National Football League franchise. Photo by Joshua Haviv / Shutterstock.com
Month: June 2018
Revenue-wise, Rivers Casino Pittsburgh is among the top-five revenue earners in Pennsylvanias casino market. Earlier this month Rivers also had the distinction of being the only casino among the big five to see revenue growth in overall slots in 2017 and in the month of December. That is, according to the latest numbers from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). Rivers sees positive growth year-on-year, month-on-month According to the PGCBs numbers, Rivers Casino pulled in the third-most slots revenue in the month of December and for the year. Parx Casino, the states top slots revenue property, saw a 0.79 percent rise in its slots revenue compared to Dec. 2016. However, its 2017 slots revenue dropped 0.42 percent. Sands saw slight decreases month-on-month (-0.68%) and year-on-year (-0.81%). Rivers, on the other hand, saw a 5.85 percent rise in month-on-month revenue. That is the third-highest growth rate among the states 12 casinos. Year-on-year, the casino experienced a 1.77 percent revenue growth. Whats interesting about this increase is that it not only made Rivers the only top-five property to see positive numbers in Dec. 2017 and in 2017, but it was one of only two casinos pulling in $100 million in 2017 to see month-on-month and year-on-year growth. Mount Airy Casino was the other property. All 12 PA casinos see Dec. growth, yearly decline While Rivers was the golden boy of among the states big earners, smaller casinos like Lady Luck, Valley Forge, and Presque Isle boasted revenue increases of more than 5 percent, 8 percent, and 2 percent, respectively. Along with healthy growth at Mount Airy and modest gains at SugarHouse and Hollywood Casino, the states casinos managed to see a 1 percent increase in revenue compared to Dec. 2016. That growth was punctuated by the fact that fewer slots were in operation this past month than they were the year before. The average combined number of slot machines operating daily was 25,849 in December of 2017 compared to 26,074 in December of 2016, the PGCB reported. As for year-on-year growth, casinos saw an overall decline of 1 percent. The numbers PGCB provided seem to indicate that much of that decline was due to the fact that only eight of 12 casinos saw year-on-year revenue increases. Furthermore, only one of the top-eight revenue earners saw increases. For the year, the state pulled in $1.18 billion in slots tax revenue. Heres more from the PGCB about where that money goes: What will 2018 hold for slots revenue? Heading into 2018, the headlining development in slots will be the implementation of video gambling terminals (video gambling terminals) at truck stops across the state. The Pennsylvania gambling expansion bill included a provision that allows for up to five VGTs at qualifying truck stops. It also allows counties to opt out. At the time of publishing, 10 of 12 counties hosting casinos had opted out.
Penn National Gaming has entered into a battle with the state of Pennsylvania over satellite casinos. The company is defending its Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course on at least two fronts. First off, the Pennsylvania-based gaming and hospitality giant filed a lawsuit in federal court in Harrisburg this past Tuesday. The suit alleges the states plan to allow the construction of up to 10 satellite casinos will cause significant and unique harm to Hollywood Casino. Secondly, Penn National Gaming outbid other PA casino owners and operators for the right to develop the states first satellite casino. The company bid a whopping $50.1 million for the right to go ahead with a satellite casino of its own in York County. The radius around the new site, and the number of area municipalities opting out of hosting a satellite casino prior to the bidding process, would essentially give Penn National Gaming exclusive casino gambling rights in a large portion of south central Pennsylvania. The satellite casino buffer zones State lawmakers passed a comprehensive gambling expansion bill in October 2017. Alongside the authorization of online gambling, the new laws allow for the construction of up to ten satellite casinos, each with up to 750 slot machines. The plan created a 25-mile buffer zone around existing casino properties so these new satellite gambling operations wouldnt draw business away from them. Municipalities who dont want a satellite casino were invited to opt out of hosting one. Then, the bidding process opened up to owners and operators of Pennsylvanias 12 existing casinos. The minimum bid is $7.5 million, plus $2.5 million for a gaming license. Auction winners can also buy a separate certificate to operate up to 30 table games for $2.5 million. Penn National Gaming cries foul However, Penn National Gaming has been crying foul from the start. Company executives claim Hollywood Casino faces more competition from satellite casinos than any other Pennsylvania casino operation. It maintains these satellite casinos will poach its statewide customer base. Plus, it says other casino properties are being better protected by the law. Penn National Gaming says casinos built closer together in other parts of the state help create larger buffer zones. In effect, that gives these properties more protection than Hollywood Casino enjoys. Plus, the company claims most of its customers come from outside of 25 miles around the property, exacerbating the issue. The state responded to Penn National Gamings complaints by claiming it would be unfair to change the law to create a larger buffer zone only benefiting one casino. Mount Airy gets a bigger buffer However, it may have already done that for Mount Airy Casino Resort. The new law prohibits satellite casinos in sixth-class counties. That nearly triples the buffer around Mount Airy Casino Resort. However, it does nothing for any other PA casino. The lawsuit claims there was no rational basis for the decision leading to the creation of the buffer zones. It also claims Penn National Gaming is being treated in an arbitrary and inequitable fashion. Plus, Penn National Gaming is claiming its constitutional rights to equal protection and due process have been violated. State Sen. Mario Scavello, chair of the Senate committee that handled the gambling expansion legislation, has maintained the buffer zones were created based on previous state gambling laws. Mount Airy Casino Resort is in Scavellos district. However, he maintains the protection afforded Mount Airy is fair because it provides a cut of revenues to the counties around it. Penn National Gaming claims it will withdraw its $50.1 million satellite casino bid if it wins the lawsuit. In the meantime, the satellite casino bidding process continues. The other nine licenses are set to be auctioned off bi-weekly. The next one is scheduled for Jan. 24.
The first Category 4 license under Pennsylvanias new gaming laws will go to Penn National subsidiary, the Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing Association, LLC. The company bid a staggering $50.1 million for the license. It allows them to build a mini casino in a specified location within 10 miles the Borough of Yoe in York County. The precise location will not be known until Penn National submits the full application for the license. Each mini casino license allows the operator to build a facility with up to 750 slot machines. An additional $2.5 million gives them a license to add table games as well. In yesterdays auction, only four bidders took part, although all existing Category 1 and 2 license holders were eligible. Penn Nationals bid was massively above the minimum price the state demands for a Cat 4 license, which is $7.5 million. The apparent overbid takes some understanding to know if this will create consequences for other states looking at gambling expansion. Why bid so much? In anybodys mind, $50 million for a gaming license is an expensive proposition. Even the proposed online gambling legislation in New York only envisages charging $10 million per license. So does Penns bid represent a revaluation of the license value, implying that other operators will have to come up with similar sized bids to secure their own licenses? Or is this some form of ego trip designed for PR impact? The answer is probably not. Hollywood Casino at Penn National Racecourse is the only one of Pennsylvanias casinos which is centrally located in the state. The others are on the states periphery. Existing laws maintain a 25-mile buffer zone between any one casino and its nearest permitted neighbor. However, there are no neighboring casinos within the Hollywoods buffer zone. Penn National recently launched a lawsuit alleging that the Category 4 licensing process breaches its rights. It contends the new mini casinos will be a major threat to Hollywood, where two-thirds of customers come from outside the 25-mile exclusion zone. Penns argument against the mini casinos As such, Penn is not in favor of building any new mini casinos. It argues that it will suffer more than its competitors. Speaking to OnlinePokerReport, Penn National Senior Vice President for Public Affairs, Eric Schippers explained: In other words, Penn chose the York County location because it prevents another casino from building a competing facility near Hollywood. At the same time, it also allows Penn National to extend its market reach with minimal cannibalization of its existing customer base. The $50 million was spent buying benefits over and above those created by the new licenses. Even if Penn chooses not to build a new mini casino, the money could still be considered a good investment. Good locations for mini casinos will be in short supply The auction was the first of ten scheduled for the available licenses. The auctions sequence the licenses to give bidders priority on their preferred location. If a competitor wins a license and announces they will build in the location desired by another bidder, then that bidder would have to find another location or give up the chase. Over 40 percent of Pennsylvanias municipalities opted out of the opportunity to have a mini casino located in their area. As a result, optimum locations may be in short supply. Other states wont get the same benefits as Pennsylvania The auction process enabled Pennsylvania to receive massively more than it expected for the first Cat 4 gaming license. That would normally encourage other US states seeking to expand gambling to use the same auction strategy. However, the unique factors which caused Penn National to pay so much are unlikely to hold in other regions. It is unlikely that any of the subsequent auctions will produce a similar high bid. Although to make certain of their preferred location some of the bidders might still offer two or three times the $7.5 million minimum. Dates for the remaining license auctions are:
Jan. 24, 2018
Feb. 7, 2018
Feb. 21, 2018
March 7, 2018
March 21, 2018
April 4, 2018
April 18, 2018
May 2, 2018
May 16, 2018
1 No timeline for online gambling
2 PA Lottery ready to go online as soon as March
3 Adding to existing lottery revenues Online slots, table games, and poker are coming to Pennsylvania. However, it now appears the PA Lottery will get there first. Pennsylvania became the fourth US state to legalize online gambling in 2017. State lawmakers passed a comprehensive gambling expansion bill in the fall of last year. Additionally, the new law regulates video gaming terminals (VGTs) at approved truck stops and tablet gaming in approved airports. It also authorizes the construction of up to ten satellite casinos at locations a specified distance from one of Pennsylvanias 12 existing casinos. Plus, it allows the state to start online lottery sales. No timeline for online gambling The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is going about the business of setting up regulations and licensing online gambling operators. But there is no set timeline for when the process will conclude and the online gambling market will open up. However, a PA Lottery spokesperson told the local press online lottery games that can be played online, on a computer or mobile device, will likely hit the market this spring. A spokesperson for the gaming board told Trib Total Media it is currently talking with PA casinos interested in applying for the three types of online gaming licenses it will ultimately offer. This includes individual licenses for online slots, online poker, and online table games at a cost of $4 million each. Although, PA casinos will be able apply for all three at once at a reduced licensing fee of $10 million. However, the board says it has yet to put together the regulations that will guide the licensing process and the games themselves. In fact, the board has admitted it has no time frame for when this regulatory process will begin, or end. PA Lottery ready to go online as soon as March In the meantime, the PA Lottery appears ready to start online lottery ticket sales on its website, a newly designed mobile app, and lottery retail monitors, as early as late March. According to the state, lottery sales have helped put more than $1 billion a year for the past six years into programs designed to serve Pennsylvania seniors. However, coming off a 35 percent increase in sales between 2010 and 2016, lottery sales dipped 3 percent last year. As a result, a PA Lottery spokesperson said the lottery wants to go online in an effort to modernize its business model. Its also hoping to better compete in the face of growing competition from other forms of entertainment. No decision has been made as to which games will be for sale online. However, PA Lottery officials have confirmed the online games will also be available on monitors at lottery retailers across the state. Adding to existing lottery revenues Hopes are the new games will add to lottery revenues rather than cannibalize traditional ticket sales. In fact, PA Lottery officials say the new games could generate up to $250 million in new profits over the first five years. Illinois, Michigan, Georgia, Kentucky, North Dakota, and North Carolina are the only other states that currently offer online lottery sales. The Illinois Lottery was the first to go online in 2012. It generated close to $20 million in online sales last year. Michigan reported more than $90 million in online lottery sales last year, helping overall lottery sales increase seven percent.
1 Boyd buying Valley Forge
2 Valley Forge slot expansion Las Vegas, Nevadas Boyd Gaming Corporation ended 2017 with a flurry of casino acquisition activity. Activity that included buying its first-ever casino property in Pennsylvania: Valley Forge Casino Resort. Wyomissing, PAs Penn National Gaming announced the week before Christmas it is buying competitor Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. The acquisition is a cash-and-stock deal worth close to $2.8 billion. However, in order to meet regulatory requirements, Penn National is being forced to sell the gaming operations of four existing Pinnacle properties it will acquire through the purchase. Boyd Gaming has stepped in to buy the casinos for $575 million in cash. The properties are:
Ameristar Kansas City
Ameristar St. Charles
Belterra Casino Resort At the time, Boyd Gaming said it expects the four-casino deal to close in the second half of 2018. Boyd buying Valley Forge Just a few days later, Boyd Gaming announced it has also entered into an agreement with Valley Forge Convention Center Partners, L.P., to acquire Valley Forge Casino Resort in King of Prussia, PA. The purchase price is listed as $280.5 million. Before these transactions, Boyd Gaming already owned and operated two dozen gambling operations across the country. This includes a dozen in the Las Vegas-area alone. Its flagship property is the Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Valley Forge Casino Resort is just 20 miles west of downtown Philadelphia. It will be Boyd Gamings first Pennsylvania casino. The Keystone State is the second-largest commercial gaming state in the nation behind Nevada. Boyd Gamings President and Chief Executive Officer Keith Smith said in a press release the acquisition represented a growth opportunity for both Boyd and Valley Forge: Valley Forge currently boasts a 40,000-square foot casino with 600 slot machines and 50 table games. Plus, the property also includes nearly 500 hotel rooms, eight restaurants and bars, and more than 100,000 square feet of convention space. It sits just two miles north of King of Prussia Mall, the largest shopping mall in the country. Valley Forge slot expansion In November, Valley Forge paid the state to have its customer admission fee abolished, and made plans to add 250 more slot machines, in accordance with new laws governing gambling expansion. However, the new laws also allow the property to offer online gambling within the state, as well as sports betting, should it ultimately be permitted under federal law. Smith said Boyd is considering jumping in both sectors in PA. He also said the recent acquisitions bring Boyd Gamings casino portfolio up to 29 casino properties operating across 10 states. Additionally, Smith said the acquisitions give the company direct access to four of the nations largest gaming markets in Philadelphia, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Cincinnati. Boyd expects the Valley Forge transaction will close in the third quarter of 2018.
1 The when and where of the satellite auctions
2 Bidding on satellites: Two envelopes, one winner The satellites are getting ready to land. Earlier this month the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) announced the parameters for the forthcoming auctions that will take place for the licenses required to operate satellite casinos. These casinos are just one of the many provisions included in Pennsylvanias landmark gambling expansion bill passed in late October. A Dec. 13 press release from PGCB detailed how the auction process will work. Heres an excerpt: The when and where of the satellite auctions According to the press release, the auctions will take place in 10 rounds. The first two will happen on Jan. 10 and Jan. 24. Then there will be two each month through May 16. The auctions will happen in Harrisburgs Strawberry Square in a public hearing room. They are currently scheduled to start at 10 a.m. The goal is to have all licenses auctioned off by May. However, if that doesnt happen, PGCB will extend the deadline until July 31. If any licenses still remain, Category 3 casinos (resorts) can join in additional auctions until Aug. 31. Should there still be leftover licenses at that point, the PGCB may add more auctions. Additionally, it could allow casinos who successfully bid on licenses to win more. Bidding on satellites: Two envelopes, one winner According to the recently passed gambling bill, satellite casinos can have between 300 and 750 slot machines and 40 table games (max of 30 the first year). The presence of these two types of games requires two separate licenses in addition to the Category 4 license. The actual bidding process will be a Vickery auction. This means casinos will submit bids in sealed envelopes. Each bidder will also have to provide a second envelope that contains the location where the bidder wants to build the satellite. Once all the envelopes are submitted, a PGCB board member will open all the bid envelopes in random order. PCGB will announce winners on its website. The losing bidders and their bids will be kept confidential to, the PBCB said, assure the competitiveness of the future auctions and minimize the potential for collusion.
1 Boyd Gaming buying the Ameristar casinos
2 Wyomissings Penn National Gaming
3 Nevadas Pinnacle Entertainment Pennsylvanias largest casino company is getting even bigger.Penn National Gaming announced Monday it is planning to buy competitor Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. in a cash-and-stock deal worth close to $2.8 billion. Once the deal jumps through the usual regulatory hoops, Pinnacle shareholders are going to receive $20 in cash and 0.420 shares of Penn National stock per share. After the deal is complete, Penn National Gaming shareholders will own 78 percent of the company. Pinnacle shareholders will hold the other 22 percent. The combined company will be one of the largest casino companies in the entire country. There is no indication Penn National plans to leave its Pennsylvania home. Boyd Gaming buying the Ameristar casinos As a part of the transaction, Penn will sell the gaming operations of four existing Pinnacle properties to Boyd Gaming Corp. for $575 million in cash. The selloff is reportedly in order to meet regulatory requirements in the areas where these casinos operate. The casinos include:
Ameristar Kansas City
Ameristar St. Charles
Belterra Casino Resort There is also a leaseback deal in the works involving Belterra, Boyd Gaming, and Penn National real-estate spin-off Gaming and Leisure Properties. However, Boyd Gaming says its end of the entire deal is not likely to close until the second half of 2018. Boyd Gaming operates more than two dozen gambling operations across the country, including a dozen in the Las Vegas, Nevada area. Its flagship property is arguably the Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Wyomissings Penn National Gaming Wyomissing, PA is home to Penn National Gamings headquarters. Prior to this Pinnacle deal, the company owned and operated 26 casino properties in the US and managed one in Canada. Of course, this includes the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Grantville, PA. The Hollywood Casino brand is Penn National Gamings largest. In fact, it owns and operates Hollywood Casino properties in seven other states:
Ohio It also owns the M Resort in Henderson, Nevada and Tropicana Las Vegas on the Las Vegas Strip. Reutersreported that once the Pinnacle deal is done, Penn National Gaming will operate a combined 41 casino properties. These properties include more than 53,000 slot machines and 1,300 table games. They also include more than 8,300 hotel rooms. Nevadas Pinnacle Entertainment Pinnacle Entertainment is headquartered in Spring Valley, Nevada. The company operates 16 casinos in nine states as well as a horse track in Texas. This included The Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Washington County, PA. The casino and racetrack property was bought by Penn National Gaming real-estate spin-off Gaming and Leisure Properties in 2015. However, Pinnacle inked a $138 million deal with Gaming and Leisure to run the casino at the property in 2016. Pinnacle Entertainments largest casino brand is Ameristar. Ameristar properties can be found in:
Missouri Rumors of a Penn National-Pinnacle merger began to surface in October of this year when the Wall Street Journal reported both sides were in discussions. Both companies refused to comment as stock prices soared.
1 Fear is VGTs will be contagious
2 Satellites a no-go, too
3 Satellites, VGTs present interesting problem for counties, municipalities Philadelphias civic leaders arent showing a lot of brotherly love toward video gambling terminals (VGTs) and satellite casinos. This past week, eight members of the Philadelphia city council said theyd support local legislation to reject VGTs and satellite casinos. The former needs approved by Philadelphia County before truck stops can install any machines. The move comes as Pennsylvanias gambling expansion bill legalized VGTs at truck stops and up to 10 satellite casinos. The law does give municipalities the choice to opt-out of satellites and counties to opt-out of VGTs. Philadelphia Councilman Bobby Henon was pretty clear about why he and his seven colleagues indicated their distaste for expansion in their county. We want to send a strong message, he was quoted as saying in the Inquirer. We dont want this kind of gaming expansion here in the city of Philadelphia. A final vote on the matter will take place this week. Fear is VGTs will be contagious Pennsylvanias gambling law now allows for VGTs at truck stops that meet certain requirements: at least 50,000 gallons of diesel sold each of the past 12 months, at least 20 commercial parking spots, and a few other requirements. Henon said that his main concern is that VGTs in truck stops today means VGTs in bars and other locations tomorrow. Ironically, Philly.com reports that not a single truck stop or gas station in the city meets the requirements needed to install VGTs. Other arguments from the councilman include the fact that 26 percent of Philadelphias population is in poverty. In his mind, VGTs would only exacerbate the problem. At the time of publishing, though, only three counties had officially filed their VGT opt-outs with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). Satellites a no-go, too The city will also opt-out of satellite casinos, which are smaller versions of their full-fledged cousins. The law allows for up to 10 satellites with a max of 750 slots and 40 table games at each location. As mentioned earlier, municipalities have the choice to opt-out of satellites. The list of more than 200 municipalities whove opted out is available on the PGCBs website. SugarHouse Casino, Parx, and Harrahs can breathe a sigh of relief; for the time being, satellites and VGTs wont steal customers away from their casino floor. Satellites, VGTs present interesting problem for counties, municipalities The gambling expansion bill was a bit of a free-for-all in the sense it opened up multiple gambling avenues. Some of those will directly benefit existing brick-and-mortar casinos: online gambling and satellite casinos. However, VGTs dont work in the favor of casinos, the thinking goes. Opponents worry they pull customers away from casino floors and into truck-stop gambling nooks. Truckers, however, are split on the matter. Some believe it will keep truckers awake and jeopardize their safety as well as the safety of other drivers, while others welcome the chance to do some gambling during their mandatory 10-hour rest time.
1 College Township not opting out
2 Satellite casino could reinvigorate Nittany Mall
3 Disaster for Penn State students? A struggling Penn State University-area mall could potentially be the site of one of the states new satellite casinos. At the very least, College Township, PA where the decades-old Nittany Mall is located, is not one of more than 200 municipalities currently opting out of hosting a satellite casino inside its borders. State lawmakers passed a comprehensive gambling expansion bill on October. The new laws authorize the construction of up to ten satellite casinos across the state. However, none of these mini casinos can be built within a 25-mile radius of one of Pennsylvanias 12 casinos. Plus, municipalities are able to opt out, prohibiting the opening of a satellite casino near them. The satellite casinos could potentially house anywhere from 300 to 750 slot machines and start with 30 table games. Plus, that number could go up to as many as 50 over time. College Township not opting out A number of Centre County municipalities have already opted out of hosting one of the satellite casinos. The deadline to do so is Dec. 31. However, College Township appears to be standing pat. In fact, council members agreed to take no action last week. College Township already has city ordinances on the books that restrict where gambling businesses can be located. Moreover, College Township Manager Adam Brumbaugh says the Nittany Mall is really the only feasible location where a satellite casino could go. The Nittany Mall first opened in 1968. It has expanded through the years to include several anchor stores. However, it was announced in November the Nittany Mall Sears location is closing. In fact, it is one of 18 Sears stores and 45 Kmart locations around the country scheduled to close in late January 2018. Satellite casino could reinvigorate Nittany Mall Given the ongoing economic struggles of the mall, the fact it is the only viable location in College Township, and the number of other Centre County municipalities opting out of hosting a satellite casino, Brumbaugh wrote a memo to College Township council saying he strongly believes a satellite casino presents a real opportunity to redevelop the Nittany Mall and surrounding commercially zoned properties. Pennsylvania State University is partially located in College Township. However, every other municipality in and around the school has opted out of hosting a satellite casino, including State College. Disaster for Penn State students? Council President Tom Daubert told the local press a casino could be disastrous for the Penn State student body. Council member Theresa Lafer said gambling could pose the same addiction risk to students as alcohol. Existing PA casinos will begin the bidding process for potential satellite casino locations in January 2018. Under the new laws, satellite casino host municipalities will collect half of the local assessment paid by the operation. This includes two percent of gross revenue from table games and four percent of gross revenue from slot machines. Photo by Richard Paul Kane / Shutterstock.com