Parx Casino Shippensburg Gains Local Approval for Satellite Near Pennsylvania University

Posted on: April 5, 2021, 10:57h. 

Last updated on: July 7, 2021, 01:04h.

Parx Casino parent Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment has secured local approval for its Pennsylvania satellite gaming venue in Shippensburg Township.

Parx Casino Pennsylvania gambling Shippensburg
A former Lowe’s in Shippensburg, Pa., that closed in 2018 is pictured. A Parx-branded casino is being targeted for the vacant building. (Image: The Shippensburg News-Chronicle)

The Shippensburg Township Board of Supervisors unanimously voted 3-0 in favor of issuing Greenwood a conditional use approval that allows the casino operator to move its project forward. Greenwood owns and operates Parx Casino, the state’s largest casino floor, located north of Philadelphia in Bensalem. 

Greenwood wants to build a Parx-branded casino, sportsbook, and restaurant inside a former Lowe’s store at the Shippen Towne Center. The blueprint calls for a 77,572-square-foot facility featuring 600 slot machines, 30 table games, and a sports betting lounge.

The remaining 62,000 square feet of space at the large former home improvement store will be reserved for future development, most likely additional restaurants and retail shopping. 

With the local ordinance in hand, Greenwood can now proceed with a public hearing with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. That meeting is scheduled for May 20 regarding its state-issued gaming license. Greenwood secured the Category 4 satellite gaming license through a 2018 auction round. The company obtained the rights with a winning $8.1 million bid. 

Safety First

Municipalities across the Commonwealth were able to exclude their towns and boroughs from consideration of becoming a satellite casino site. Shippensburg Township, however, opted to remain in the pool.

Shippensburg is attractive to Greenwood for many reasons. It is home to one of the state’s universities, and is conveniently located just off Interstate 81. That’s a major thoroughfare that runs from Tennessee through upstate New York to the Canadian border. 

But a casino just minutes from the Shippensburg University campus naturally drew security concerns. Parx officials say safety is of the utmost importance.

We’re going to make sure that our property is safe and secure once we open it,” said Parx General Counsel Thomas Bonner said, “I’d like to think it’s one of the safest places you can be.”

The benefits, Greenwood claims, far outweigh any potential negatives. The casino is projected to spur an annual local economic impact of $43 million, and generate 100 full-time positions with an average pay of $40,000 a year, plus benefits. 

Local Benefits

Pennsylvania’s satellite casinos will be subjected to the same gross gaming revenue (GGR) tax as their larger Category 2 components. 

Slot machines will share 54 percent of their win in the form of taxes, with four percent remaining in the host locality. Revenue from table games will be tax at 14 percent, and again, four percent stays local. 

Parx estimates that Shippensburg Township will receive $1.8 million annually from slots and table games. The local government will take in additional money from the casino by way of property, food, and beverage sales taxes.

Parx Shippensburg is one of five satellite casinos. Only one has opened — Live! Casino Pittsburgh at the Westmoreland Mall. 

Penn National Gaming is behind two of the satellites, one in York and another in Morgantown. Businessman Ira Lubert has partnered with the newly formed Bally’s Corporation for the fifth, which is being developed at the Nittany Mall near Penn State University.