Mount Airy Casino in Pennsylvania has submitted plans with state gaming regulators to build a multimillion-dollar satellite gaming venue in Beaver County. Mount Airy’s namesake casino is located in the eastern part of the state in the Pocono Mountains.
Mount Airy Pittsburgh, as the mini-casino will be known, will be located just off Interstate 376 in Big Beaver on a 100-acre plot that’s some 30 miles northwest of Pennsylvania’s second largest city. The casino operator acquired the barren land after its $21.188 million bid was enough to win the third Category 4 satellite auction in February.
The planned satellite, which will be permitted to house up to 750 slot machines and 30 table games, is located just 20 miles east of the Ohio-Pennsylvania border and minutes from the I-76 Pennsylvania Turnpike.
Pennsylvania’s General Assembly and Governor Tom Wolf (D) passed a substantial gambling expansion measure last fall. Along with the satellite venues, the legislation authorized online gambling, daily fantasy sports and sports betting, slot machines inside certain truck stops, and airport gaming lounges.
Town Welcomes Casino
The gambling law called for as many as 10 satellite casinos, but the process stalled after five successful auctions were held. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board said it didn’t receive any offers for a sixth license, and therefore ended the Category 4 auctioning.
One issue that might have kept some of the state’s licensed casino operators from bidding on a satellite is the fact that 664 municipalities filed resolutions to opt out and bar a casino from being built in their jurisdictions. Many of the towns that remained in the running are located in rather rural areas.
Officials in Beaver County are more than willing to welcome Mount Airy to the region.
From the due diligence we have done here, we know what the Mount Airy organization does for the community in Mount Pocono,” Mount Airy Board of Commissioners Chairman Daniel Camp told The Beaver County Times. “We’re excited for them to bring that here, along with the family-sustaining jobs they will be providing for workers from Beaver County and all through the region.”
Mount Airy officials say their submission includes a traffic study and economic impact review. The company said along with the casino floor, the satellite will include several restaurants. A second potential phase could include other entertainment auctions such as concert and theater space.
The property is expected to employ up to 500 full-time permanent workers.
Penn National won two Category 4 permits, the first being a $50.1 million bid that secured an area in York County. The state’s longest-tenured casino operator has submitted plans to the PGCB to build the satellite gaming venue inside the York Galleria Mall.
Penn National officials said it was willing to offer up such a premium bid in order to secure south-central Pennsylvania, which is a major market area for the company’s Hollywood Casino at Penn National near the Harrisburg capital.
Gross gambling revenue on slot machines at the Category 4 sites will be taxed at an effective rate of 54 percent, and table games at 16 percent. The bulk of the tax revenue goes to the state’s Property Tax Relief Fund and General Fund.