Pennsylvania’s 2nd mini casino well placed serve Pittsburgh and neighboring states.
On Monday, Mount Airy Casino Resort operators made big news when then announced plans to bring a new resort casino to western Pennsylvania. The new project will be located in Big Beaver, roughly 40 miles northwest of Pittsburgh in Beaver County, near I-376 and just off the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
Mount Airy plans to break ground on the facility sometime in the 4th quarter of 2018 and will hopefully open the doors to the public sometime in late 2019. The new resort casino is expected to include a full-service hotel, convention center, pool, spa, salon, and sports bar as well as slots and Vegas-style table gaming.
The new offering is expected to match Mount Airy’s AAA Four-Diamond resort casino (located in eastern Pennsylvania’s Pocanos mountains) in both quality and customer satisfaction.
Lisa DeNaples, Mount Airy’s owner and managing trustee had this to say in the release:
“We’re thrilled to bring our four-diamond customer service, high quality entertainment and luxurious amenities to Beaver County and the surrounding communities, while contributing a positive lasting impact on the local economy. For over a decade, Mount Airy Casino Resort in the Poconos has paved the way as one of the nation’s most dynamic, upscale destination casino resorts. Our thoughtful expansion into the Pittsburgh and tri-state area represents a huge milestone in our effort to do what we live and breathe every day: provide award-winning customer service and luxury amenities to more people.”
So what exactly will come to town with this big new project?
While the new casino is yet to be built, some of it’s details are already known. Keeping in mind that this is a license for a mini casino, it will max out on the allowed number of slot machines and table games at 750 and 30, respectively. It will also have a separate high limit section for big players. It is also expected to include a second incarnation of Mount Airy’s award winning buffet. Stylistically, it should be a knock-out as the world-renowned Friedmutter Group (known for their work on the Cosmopolitan resort in Las Vegas, Nevada) has been tasked with designing the new facility.
Perhaps most important as far as the locals are concerned, the new casino will bring upwards of 700 new jobs to the area along with millions in increased tax revenues. Also, local businesses can expect a big boost in business from the increased traffic the new casino will attract.
How it came to be: winning big on a winning bid
Mount Airy won the right to build their new casino when their February bid of $21.1 million fetched them one of Pennsylvania’s 10 new mini casino licenses (known as category 4 licenses). As a condition of the accepted proposal, they are committed to locating the casino within a 15 mile radius centered on the town of New Castle in Lawrence County.
All the municipalities within this target zone were given the chance to opt in or out of the new venture. Of the two communities that opted in, Big Beaver was selected as the best option for Mount Airy’s vision. They want to build something in the west of the state to rival the property they are so proud of in the east. Big Beaver fits the bill. The casino operators have already acquired 110 acres needed for the project and have an option to purchase 70 more if need be.
2 of 10 mini casino licenses are now spoken for
Mount Airy’s Big Beaver bid makes them the second Pennsylvania operator to jump into the state’s mini casino market.
The first was Stadium Casino who won the first category 4 license to be issued with a rather large $40.1 million bid. This move surprised some, since Stadium has yet to open their first Pennsylvania casino. They are still working on construction of their initial offering to be located in South Philadelphia’s Stadium District with an announced opening date sometime in 2020.
For Stadium’s mini casino project, they selected Westmoreland Mall in the Greensburg area east of Pittsburgh. So far, location is all that is known of the projects details, except of course for the maximum allowable number of games as detailed in the license itself.
What to do while we wait?
So Pennsylvanians are awaiting two new casinos. They also await finalization of the heavily anticipated new online casino gaming opportunities that are coming down the pike. What should eager bettors do while waiting for these new horizons to appear? Well, they could seek out one of Pennsylvania’s other 12 land-based casinos of course, but what if they can’t get to one of these?
One option to consider is Pennsylvania’s new online lottery. It’s brand new. It’s completely legal. It’s tons of fun with many exciting variants and what’s best of course is you play with real money. Here’s another sweet bonus: New players get $5 to play when they sign up.