Hollywood Casino Morgantown Plans December Open, Indoor Smoking Still On Table

Posted on: November 23, 2021, 06:56h. 

Last updated on: November 23, 2021, 02:46h.

Hollywood Casino Morgantown is set to open at noon on Wednesday, Dec. 22.

Hollywood Casino Morgantown Penn National Gaming
The Hollywood Casino Morgantown marquee goes up earlier this month at Penn National Gaming’s newest casino. Penn says the satellite gaming venue will open on December 22, 2021. (Image: Penn National Gaming)

Penn National Gaming (PNG), the oldest gaming operator in the state, secured the Category 4 “satellite” casino license during an April 2020 auction round. PNG submitted a $10.5 million winning bid, which was its second successful auction victory.

PNG selected Morgantown for the site of its so-called mini-casino. Hollywood Casino Morgantown is located just off the Pennsylvania Turnpike at the I-176 interchange.

Penn’s other satellite, Hollywood York, took the place of a former Sears department store. However, their new gaming project, Hollywood Morgantown, is housed in a completely new building. The 80,000-square-foot facility will feature 750 slot machines, 30 table games, and a Barstool Sportsbook. The casino additionally comes with three restaurants and climate-controlled outdoor gaming space.

Smoking Consideration

Penn National highlighting a climate-controlled outdoor gaming area might hint that Hollywood Casino Morgantown will be a smoke-free casino. But reps from the casino say nothing has been finalized regarding whether tobacco products will be permitted in designated sections of the indoor casino space.

Jeff Morris, vice president of public affairs for Penn National, told Casino.org that the final floor layout is still being determined. He said more details will be revealed during a pre-opening tour with the media in the coming weeks.

Pennsylvania’s Clean Indoor Air Act, passed in 2008, provided an exception for state casinos. That carve-out allows businesses to designate up to 50 percent of their gaming floor space for smoking.

Penn National Investment Spree

Penn National Gaming was opposed to Pennsylvania’s 2017 major expansion of gaming. The bill comprised the authorization of the satellite casinos, plus online casino gambling, sports betting, daily fantasy sports, truck stop video gaming terminals, and airport gaming lounges.

Penn took most issue with the satellites. Each Category 4 casino is permitted to house up to 750 slots and 30 tables. Local municipalities could opt-out of being considered for a satellite location, but Springettsbury Township in York County did not.

Being located along I-83, a major thoroughfare for the company’s Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course outside Harrisburg, PNG bid $50.1 million to secure the York County area for a satellite. Penn National said it was an investment the casino operator felt it had to make in order to “protect a major market for our [Hollywood Penn National Race Course] casino.”

Hollywood Casino York opened at a total investment cost of $120 million. PNG says Hollywood Casino Morgantown represents an overall investment of approximately $111 million, which is inclusive of the $10.5 million licensing fee.

Pennsylvania’s gaming industry is today the third-largest gaming state in the country, behind only Nevada and New Jersey.

Demand for Pennsylvania’s expanding gaming options has been met without negatively impacting brick-and-mortar business at the state’s older casinos. Total gross gaming revenue (GGR) from all verticals has eclipsed $400 million in each of the past four months. Land-based slots and tables have only increased their monthly revenue compared with 2019 despite iGaming now available.