High chances of a new lucrative establishment in former Macy’s at Nittany Mall, Pennsylvania

The Gaming Control Board chose to halt the public comment period because “enough time has passed to collect adequate public comment on the topic,” according to the board. That time began on July 21, 2021, and ended on August 16, 2021, with a public input session in College Township. The board had already resolved that the period for general discussion would be extended because of extraordinary circumstances relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The board has yet to establish a date for a public hearing in Harrisburg, at which officials from SC Gaming Op Co. LLC and the PGCB’s Office of Enforcement Counsel will present any new material and make an oral argument on whether the license should be granted. While the casinos are not ready, you can check out the list of online casinos available in PA created by the trusted casino and betting website OLBG.com

The land development plan for the proposed casino on the former Macy property at the mall was authorized by College Township in September.

The 94,000-square-foot structure will have a few substantial changes on the outside, with 750 slot machines, 30 table games, and sports betting on the interior, as well as a restaurant and bar and a multi-outlet, quick-serve food and beverage section.

Why Did The New Mini-Casino Take So Long?

According to PGCB spokesperson Douglas Harbach, “Many investigations take a good bit of time, sometimes because we have to continue asking for more and better info,” Harbach said. “Remember that we do background investigations for the licensing of many gaming entities such as manufacturers, suppliers, etc., not just casinos. Many have taken a considerable amount of time.”

Ira Lubert, an investor and former Penn State trustee, won a new license for a Category 4 casino in Centre County with a winning bid of $10 million in a September 2020 auction. Bally’s Corporation stated in January that it had agreed with Lubert to build the $123 million mini-casino. SC Gaming Op Co. LLC, Lubert’s company, founded to develop the casino, submitted an application and a local impact study in March, naming the College Township mall anchor as the site.

SC Gaming Op Co. identifies Lubert as the company’s president and Ara Kervandjian, Robert Poole, and Richard Sokolov as vice presidents on its application to the PGCB. Lubert is headquartered in the Philadelphia area but owns a house and companies in State College. Kervandjian and Poole are well-known developers in Centre County. Sokolov is the vice-chairman of Simon Property Group, a retail real estate corporation, and a major Penn State supporter.

Lubert was the driving force behind the development and operation of Valley Forge Casino Resort, purchased by Boyd Gaming Corporation in 2018.

The Proposals

Most of those who testified at the PGCB public input hearing on Aug. 16 at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center favored the planned casino, but more than 100 residents have written in opposition since then.

Lubert stated at the public input gathering, “I believe the Category 4 casino I intend to construct at the Nittany Mall will reinvigorate the property and draw many new businesses to the mall itself and the surrounding area. This, in turn, will create jobs and help drive the region’s economy forward. With Penn State’s huge alumni base and other visitors flooding into the area throughout the year, not just football season, we will provide a new entertainment venue that everyone can enjoy.”

What To Expect From The New Casino?

In the short term, development and construction are expected to generate 350 direct full-time equivalent employment and 170 indirect full-time equivalent jobs, with a net one-time economic effect of $43.6 million for College Township and $61.4 million for the county.

The casino plans to hire 350 to 400 full-time equivalent employees and will offer a “competitive wage and benefits package.”

The analysis estimates a direct and indirect economic impact of $121.6 million on the township’s economy annually. The report anticipates a $164 million yearly financial benefit in Centre County, sustaining 740 jobs.

Municipalities and counties that host casinos receive 2% of slot machine revenue and 1% of table game and sports book revenue.