Parx Casino Shippensburg Opens Smoke-Free, State’s Fourth Satellite Location

Posted on: February 3, 2023, 10:12h. 

Last updated on: February 3, 2023, 03:27h.

Parx Casino Shippensburg is officially open. The fourth satellite casino in the state, Parx Shippensburg features more than 500 slot machines and 48 electronic table gaming positions.

Parx Casino Shippensburg smoke-free Pennsylvania
Parx Casino Shippensburg doesn’t offer live dealer table games but does have 48 electronic gaming machines. The casino is also one of only two casinos in Pennsylvania that is entirely smoke-free. (Image: Parx Casino Shippensburg)

The Parx property also has a 100-seat restaurant called the Liberty Bar and Grill that offers BetParx sports wagering kiosks.

The casino opened Friday at 10 a.m. with Eric Hausler, Parx CEO, Kevin Brady, Parx Shippensburg general manager, and local business leaders and state lawmakers on hand for the ceremony.

Parx Shippensburg is the fourth satellite casino to open in the commonwealth, following Hollywood Casino York, Live! Casino Pittsburgh in Westmoreland and Hollywood Casino Morgantown. The Parx mini-casino is the first to open smoke-free.

Parx’s flagship casino is in Bensalem, just north of Philadelphia. The casino is the richest gaming property in Pennsylvania, with its 2022 brick-and-mortar gaming revenue totaling north of $637.5 million.

Parx decided to stay smoke-free amid the pandemic. The two Parx casinos are the only fully smoke-free casinos in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania now has 17 land-based casinos, and the state recently signed off on an 18th with a satellite project from Bally’s in State College near Penn State University.

Five Years in Making

Pennsylvania lawmakers and then-Gov. Tom Wolf (D) authorized satellite casinos through the state’s 2017 gaming expansion package. The satellites are reserved for the state’s current casino operators and key investors in the slot licenses.

Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment, the parent entity to Parx, won the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s (PGCB) February 2018 satellite casino auction round with a bid of $8.1 million. Greenwood selected Shippensburg Township, which didn’t opt out of being considered for one of the mini-casinos — officially called Category 4 casinos.

Parx said it spent about $65 million redeveloping the former Lowe’s home improvement store at 250 Conestoga Drive into Parx Casino Shippensburg.

Each satellite is permitted up to 750 slot and electronic table gaming positions. Parx Shippensburg, for now, is foregoing live dealer table games, which are available for the Category 4 developments for an additional licensing fee of $2.5 million.

Colleges and Casinos

The Penn State local community in State College came out in strong opposition to Bally’s trying to build a satellite casino at the Nittany Mall in a former Macy’s anchor store. But because College Township didn’t exclude itself from Category 4 consideration, the PGCB approved the $123 million project last week despite the public outcry.

There hasn’t been much public opposition in Shippensburg, which is also home to a university. Shippensburg University is one of the 10 state-owned colleges in the commonwealth collectively managed under Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education.

Ship, as the school is affectionately known, is home to about 7,000 undergraduates and 1,300 postgraduate students. Parx Casino is just a mile from the campus.

Many parents have voiced concerns about casinos encroaching too close to college campuses in the Commonwealth. But gambling is widespread in the state. Pennsylvania is one of only six states in the country that has legal iGaming with online casinos featuring interactive slots and table games.