Pennsylvania Satellite Casino Could Come to Westmoreland Mall

Posted on: July 25, 2018, 10:30h. 

Last updated on: July 25, 2018, 10:47h.

A so-called “satellite casino” might be on the way to the Westmoreland Mall in Western Pennsylvania should state regulators sign off on plans submitted by Stadium Casino LLC.

Pennsylvania satellite casino Westmoreland
Shoppers at the Westmoreland Mall in Western Pennsylvania could soon be afforded a casino that has been a Bon-Ton. (Image: WTAE/Flickr/

Pennsylvania authorized up to 10 Category 4 satellite casinos with 750 slot machines and 30 table games each last fall in part of a massive gambling expansion package. Stadium Casino won the second auction for the venues with a winning $40.1 million bid.

The casino entity, which is a partnership between Maryland’s Cordish Companies and Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment in Pennsylvania, selected Westmoreland County for the site of its satellite venue. Category 4 licensees have six months from submitting their winning bids to notify the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) on specific plans. Stadium’s deadline is Friday, July 27.

The Westmoreland Mall is roughly 20 miles east of Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review was first to report Stadium Casino’s interest in the shopping center.

“This will revitalize the mall property, and it goes beyond the casino,” Pennsylvania State Senator Kim Ward (R-Hempfield) explained.

Stadium Casino is targeting a soon-to-be vacant Bon-Ton store for the casino. The department store chain is liquidating the two-level area after the department store chain announced in April it would be closing all 267 of its stores.

Financial Projections

The Cordish Companies is building the Live! Hotel and Casino Philadelphia in the city’s stadium district. Greenwood owns and operates Philly’s Parx Casino, which is the state’s richest gross gambling revenue (GGR) site.

Together, the businesses are projecting substantial money at its Westmoreland casino. According to TribLive, Ward says Stadium Casino expects the satellite to generate a $120 million annual economic impact for the county.

The mini-casino will employ 440 full-time workers and 160 part-timers. GGR on slot machines will be taxed at an effective rate of 54 percent, and table games at 16 percent.

Host counties and municipalities will collectively share nine percent of the tax proceeds on slots, and two percent of table game revenue.

State Reaping Rewards

Pennsylvania’s expanded gambling act authorized as many as 10 satellite casinos, but bidding stalled after just five auctions were completed. Regardless, the government is still making out on the deal.

With a Republican legislature unwilling to raise taxes, and an underfunded state budget, the General Assembly and Democratic Governor Tom Wolf signed off on the satellites, online gambling, truck stop slots, airport gambling lounges, daily fantasy sports, and sports betting. The goal is to bring in new sources of revenue.

The five satellites delivered $119.5 million in licensing fees alone. The state assumed $100 million in the expansion legislation. Each satellite will still need to pay an additional $7.5 million add-on for table games.

The PGCB additionally revealed last week that nine land-based casino licensees filed for online gambling permits at a cost of $10 million each. While the state hasn’t received any bidders for sports betting due to what’s viewed as an exorbitant upfront fee ($10 million) and excessive tax rate (36 percent), the government is still collecting tens of millions of dollars from the legislation.

Wolf announced earlier this month that for the first time in nearly a decade, the government was making a deposit to its rainy day fund.