The Pennsylvania Gambling Control Board (PGCB) has voted unanimously to grant a new license to the parent company of Parx Casino, which can open a new gaming hall by November of this year.
The license was granted to GW Cumberland Op. Co., (Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment, Inc, operator of the Parx Casino) to build a Category 4 casino in the town of Shippensburg, Cumberland County.
The licensing commission started the process on February 22, 2018, when Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment received the right to place a casino with a winning bid of $8 million at the fourth category 4 auction held by the Board of Directors. Later that year, they submitted an application to the Council for the location of a newly built facility near Exit 27 of Highway 81, but later amended the application to place the casino in the former Lowe’s Home Supply store in downtown Shippen in the same municipality.
The 73,000-square-foot casino, which will take up roughly half of the former large store, will be a scaled-down version of the Parx Casino in Bensalem, the state’s largest casino by revenue. It will contain 500 slot machines and electronic table games such as blackjack, baccarat and roulette, but only with remote dealers. Parx stated that they plan to apply for a sports betting license in the future.
The $65 million renovation is due to begin next month and the facility is scheduled to open in November, Greenwood chief operating officer John Dixon said during a hearing in Harrisburg, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Shippensburg Parx is the fourth of five mini-casinos licensed under the Pennsylvania Gaming Expansion in 2017, which expanded the availability of casino gambling and betting statewide by legalizing online gaming, video terminals at truck stops, and Category 4 casinos (commonly known as mini-casinos).
Parks estimates that the Shippensburg property will generate $1.8 million in local tax revenue from the games and provide permanent employment for 125 people.
Parks had previously applied to build a casino in a settlement adjacent to Interstate 81, but it was abandoned two years ago after problems with geological stability were discovered at the construction site.
During the necessary public hearings on this issue last year, many local residents expressed concern that the site would attract problem gamblers and harm the most vulnerable in the area. Some local officials, however, said that the casino provided an opportunity to fill the dilapidated space and generate significant revenue for local services.
Mini-casinos are unique to Pennsylvania. There are currently three of them: Cordish Cos., managing Live! The Philadelphia Casino and Hotel in the stadium area in 2020 opened the state’s first Category 4 casino in a former department store shopping center in Westmoreland County in 2020 called Live! Pittsburgh Casino.
Penn National Gaming, which operates a casino under the Hollywood brand, opened the second mini-casino in the state in August in York, also in a former mall department store.
The third, Hollywood Casino Morgantown, opened in December in Berks County.
Philadelphia-based investor Ira M. Lubert won an auction in 2020 for a fifth home near State College, Pennsylvania, and partnered with Bally’s Corp. to manage it. Penns However, this auction process was challenged by Cordish Cos. in the Commonwealth Court. It is unclear how much the trial will delay the decision.