Hollywood York Casino Sets Earlier Opening Date

Penn National Gaming
The Hollywood York Casino at the York Galleria in Springettsbury Township in Pennsylvania has advanced its opening to August 2021, pending regulatory approval.

The Pennsylvania casino was supposed to open at the end of 2020 but the Pandemic changed its timelines. The opening was pushed back to later this year but now is expected to open in the middle of the year.

Drawing Customers From the Region

The opening of the 80,000 square foot casino is expected to draw customers from the region, specifically from south central Pennsylvania and Northern Maryland. It is located at the former Sears store at the York Galleria Mall which has a total of 50 tenants. The casino is considered as a mini-casino which is called a Category 4 casino. It is owned an operated by Penn National Gaming Corp.

The Pennsylvania casino cost a reported $120M to develop. It will have a total of 500 slot machines and 20 table games but that number could balloon to 750 slots and 40 gaming tables as allowed by law. Hollywood York Casino will have a restaurant, bar, entertainment lounge, and a coffee venue. It will also be allowed to have a sports book and a race book.

Penn National Gaming Opens Career Center

With the new development regarding the opening of Hollywood York Casino, Penn National Gaming announced on Thursday that it will be opening a career center near the location of the news Pennsylvania Casino. The career center will be open from Mondays to Fridays from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm with working hours to expand in the near future.

In its announcement, Penn Gaming revealed that it has begun accepting applications for various jobs at the Hollywood York Casino. Applicants can file applications for positions in casino operations, food and beverage, security and surveillance, human resources, marketing and many more.

Gun Lake Casino in Michigan Unveils $300M Expansion

Man With Spyglass and a Gun Lake Casino Image
The Gun Lake Tribe announced on Monday a $300M expansion plan that will transform its property in Wayland, Michigan to a resort casino.

Gun Lake Casino is set to add 250,000 square feet of gaming that will extend the property west toward US – 131. The project is expected to begin after its current project is expected to complete late this summer.

Said Gun Lake Tribe chairman Bob Peters in a statement:

“We are proud of the continued growth of Gun Lake Casino which is directly connected to the outstanding effort of our team members. The tribe remains steadfastly committed to reinvest in our collective future, for the benefit of tribal citizens, team members and the local community. This will provide even more employment opportunities and enhance Gun Lake Casino’s position as a tourism driver for western Michigan.”

Biggest Expansion Ever

The Gun Lake Casino has undergone several expansions since it opened in 2011. The current $100M expansion that kicked off in 2019 involves a 72,000 square foot area where 450 additional slot machines, 12 new table games, and a larger non-smoking area inside the casino. However, the planned $300M expansion will be its largest ever.

The $300M expansion is expected to include a 250 room hotel with luxury suites, dining options, and a full service spa. The casino is also planning to recreate its version of a year-round island oasis with a glass-domed pool. Guests will be able to rent private cabanas by the pool during the day. At night, the place will have a night life public entertainment space with DJs, live music, and dancing.

Contributions to the Economy

According to a report released by the Tribe last February, the Gun Lake Casino has contributed more than $2.8B for the economy of the Wolverine State since its opening on February 20, 2011. In that report, the tribe says that they have already inverted a total of $415M in the casino while directly pays $502M in employee wages.

Nearby towns and cities also benefit from the operation of the Gun Lake Casino through revenue sharing which totaled $35M in the past decade that it has operated. Last December, it distributed a total of $5.7M to state and local governments, despite shutting down for three months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Legends Bay Casino in Sparks Has Broken Ground

Pennsylvania Casinos

Olympia Gaming announced on Wednesday that the long-planned Legends Bay Casino in Sparks has broken ground.

The Sparks casino, located adjacent to I-80 at Sparks Boulevard in The Outlets and Legends shopping center, approximately 15 minutes from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, is the first casino built from the ground up in the Reno-Sparks metropolitan in the last 26 years. Construction is expected to be completed in 2022.

Said Olympia Gaming Chief Operating Officer DeCourcy Graham in a statement:

“This project is 14 years in the making. After successfully completing the first phase of this project with the Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton and the Residence Inn by Marriott, we are now in a position to begin the next phase of development. We thank the City of Sparks and RED Development for helping bring this project to reality. We plan to build a project that the community will be proud to call their own.”

Part of the Original Plan

The Sparks casino was part of the original plan of the shopping complex that opened in 2009 but construction was put on hold due to the recession and the decline in casino revenues in the Reno-Sparks area due to competition from tribal casinos in Northern California.

Since then, it has taken more than a decade of planning. In October 2020, Olympia Gaming received an approval to change its original floor plan of the exterior of the Legends Bay Casino. The ongoing pandemic held back construction plans for the Sparks casino. But with the state of Nevada slowly easing restrictions, the project has finally broken ground.

Integrated to The Outlets at Legends

The 80,000 square foot property will include a a casino equipped with new slot machine technologies, a variety of table games, multiple dining options, a handful of bars, a sportsbook, plus large space and valet parking.

Olympia Gaming officials said that the planned casino will be seamlessly integrated to The Outlets at Legends shopping mall to provide its guests with retail and entertainment options aside from enjoying its casino games. According to Graham, having a casino experience at the heart of the shopping center is a big “opportunity” for the company.

Wisconsin Governor Signs Approval for Ho-Chunk Casino in Beloit

4 Ho-Chunk Casino Fronts
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers gave his approval for the Ho-Chunk Nation to build a casino complex in Beloit on Wednesday, clearing one of the major hurdles in the long-planned project.

Evers’ signing comes one year after the Bureau of Indian Affairs gave its initial approval, six years after former Gov. Scott Walker blocked a proposed gambling hall in Kenosha that was proposed by the Menominee tribe, almost seven years after the application was filed, and 22 years after Beloit residents approved the project in a referendum.

The complex is located just West of Interstate 39/90 and would sit on Wisconsin’s border with Chicago, making it an easy draw for out-of-state visitors. According to Beloit City manager Curtis Luther, the project will create more than 2,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs when operational.

Second Biggest Casino in Wisconsin

Once it is completed, the Ho-Chunk in Beloit will be the second largest casino in Wisconsin after the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee. The Ho-Chunk project will boast of 2,200 slot machines, a 300-room hotel tower, a 40,000 square foot waterpark, five restaurants, a retail shopping venue, concert venue, and a conference space, all of these on 73 acres of land.

According to Ho-Chunk tribe spokesman Sarah Lemeiux, the Beloit casino will likely be a smoke-free property, unlike some Wisconsin casinos. The state has an indoor smoking ban but since the casinos are owned by the tribes, they are not bound by the state law because they are considered as sovereign nations.
es of land.

Off to Bureau of Indian Affairs For Final Approval

Now that Evers has signed off his approval, the Bureau of Indian Affairs can consider giving the Beloit casino project final approval by putting 32 out of the project’s 73 hectares into federal trust. Once that is completed, Evers and the Ho-Chunk tribe will have to negotiate their agreement on casino operations, including how much of the casino’s revenues goes to the state.

Since the project is for an off-reservation casino, the governor did not have the power to veto it under the federal rule. But that option wasn’t in the cards as far as the Beloit casino is concerned because Gov. Evers had voiced his support for the Ho-Chunk casino project even before his election to office in 2018.

Connecticut Governor Throws Support for State Sports Betting Bill

Odds Board and Money
Gov. Ned Lamont said last week that he is working on bringing sports betting and iGaming to Connecticut. Per Gov. Lamont, he has been talking to the state’s two tribal casino operators about adding sportsbooks and online gaming to their services.

Said Gov. Lamont about residents heading to nearby states to make sports bets:

“Connecticut should not leave these opportunities for other states to benefit from our inaction.”

Senate Bill 146

SB 146 would authorize the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and the Mohegan Tribe of Indians to conduct both retail and online Connecticut sports betting on tribal land. The two tribes would also be allowed to run online casino businesses.

Furthermore, the bill proposes that the Connecticut Lottery Corporation to sell lottery game tickets and organize online keno games. The bill also states that the legalization of Connecticut sports betting, online gambling, as well as selling of game tickets and online keno games are subject to “new or amended agreements” with the Native American tribes.

If Senate Bill 146 is accepted, a reasonable set of procedures and data security standards for internet gaming need to be set-up. Likewise, Connecticut sports betting and online gambling will provide revenue to the state in the form of taxes.

Legalization Won’t Happen Overnight

Although the bill’s proposal has been filed, it doesn’t necessarily mean that legalization will happen overnight. The Connecticut General Assembly still has to vote on the bill during the 2021 legislative session, which will conclude on June 9th or four months for legislators to decide whether or not to approval legal Connecticut sports betting.

But COVID-19 has affected badly the revenues of Connecticut, as it has the other states in the U.S. Some lawmakers said last week that legal sports betting can help the state offset revenue losses and that could be enough to convince lawmakers to help pass the bill.

If passed, the bill won’t take effect until 2022, just in time for the fiscal year 2023. According to Democratic lawmakers in the state, if legal Connecticut sports betting goes as planned and the bill is passed, they could see an increase in annual revenues by $47.3M in 2023.

Cowboys, Mavericks Throw Support for Legal Texas Sports Betting Bill

Texas State Flag
Sports Betting Alliance says that the Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, and Texas Rangers have thrown their support for legal Texas sports betting.

The Alliance, which is a coalition of companies backing the proposed sports betting bill, revealed that the Cowboys, Mavericks, and Rangers have joined the Dallas Stars and FC Dallas in backing the legislation to legalize sports betting in the Lone Star state.

Since gambling is banned in the state constitution, legal Texas sports betting will need the nod of two-thirds of both the House and Senate to amend the constitution. After that, another bill will have to be passed to enact the details of licensing and regulation. Then it will have to be approved by a majority of Texans in a vote.

What Does the Bill Say?

The current version of the legal Texas sports betting bill provides for the state to sell “skins” or permits to sports betting operators who partner with a sports franchise or a horse racing track. Some skins will only allow online legal Texas sports betting, while others will permit the on-site betting in sports stadiums and horse-racing tracks.

Licenses would cost $500,000 for mobile Texas sports betting and $50,000 for on site operators. Renewal fees would also be collected with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation in-charge of issuing the skins.

Only players aged 21 and older are allowed to wager on sports. The list of sports available for betting was not available but under the bill, betting on college sports in permitted. According to the bill’s author, Houston Republican Rep. Dan Huberty, bettors would receive a maximum of 90% of their winnings. The remaining 10% will go to the Texas special education fund.

Limited Gambling in Texas

The only forms of gambling that exist in the Lone Star State are the Texas Lottery, bingo, plus some horse and greyhound racing. Native American tribes have fought for years for the expansion of gambling, citing their right as Federally recognized tribes and sovereign nations to do so, but they have failed. Only the Kickapoo Nation currently owns a casino in the Lone Star state. But the casino doesn’t have the traditional slot machine games and other Las Vegas-style table-games.

Because of limited gambling in Texas, residents are currently engaging in Illegal sports betting. Since there legal Texas sports betting doesn’t exist, they have been forced to turn to offshore or unofficial sports betting sites that don’t provide customer protection.

The Dallas News reported that Texans are spending $2.5B in out-of-states casinos. If legal texas sports betting is approved, Rep Hubert said that it could be worth several hundred million dollars of new revenue to the state without raising taxes.

Bally’s Corporation to Construct $120M Casino Near Penn State

Bally's Atlantic City
Bally’s Corporation announced on Monday that it has entered into an agreement with former Penn State University trustee Ira Lubert for the design, development, construction, and operation of a Category 4 licensed Pennsylvania casino.

The said casino will have up to 750 slot machines and feature 30 table games, and it will be built near the “Nittany Mall” which is located about four miles from the Penn State campus. According to Bally’s the Pennsylvania casino will also have a retail sports betting shop, online sports betting, and online gaming, subject to separate licenses.

Per Bally’s Chief Executive Officer George Papanier:

“Expanding our rapidly growing, national footprint into the attractive Pennsylvania gaming market represents yet another major milestone for Bally’s and a great way to cap off a truly extraordinary year. Regional, land-based casinos remain the cornerstone of our portfolio diversification strategy, providing the necessary support for the growth, development and success of our future sports betting and iGaming initiatives. We look forward to combining our own proven track record of greenfield development with Ira Lubert’s local knowledge and expertise to bring Bally’s first-in-class gaming experience and amenities to customers and sports fans across Pennsylvania.”

Bally’s Will Acquire Majority Interest

Under the agreement, Bally’s will acquire a majority interest in the partnership, including 10% of the economic interests of all retail sports betting, online sports betting, and iGaming operations related to the project. Including construction and licensing costs, Bally’s estimates the cost of the Pennsylvania casino to be $120M.

According to Bally’s, construction will start during the first half of 2021 and will take approximately one year to finish. Once completed, it will be Bally’s first casino in Pennsylvania. The company owns or manages 11 gambling properties across seven states and will add three more in new states, including the Pennsylvania project.

About Ira Lubert

Lubert graduated from Penn State in 1973. The well-known real estate and property equity investor has been part of casino developments in Pittsburgh and Valley Forge. He served as chair of the Penn State Board of Trustees in 2016 and of the six-man committee that hired Bill O’Brien as the school’s football coach in 2012.

The chairman and co-founder of Lubert-Adler was recently awarded by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board the right to apply for a Category 4 slot machine license for a casino to be constructed within a 15-mile radius of Unionville Borough, Center County, Pennsylvania. Lubert has a minority founding investment in Rivers Casino.

BetMGM Announce Launch of iGaming Product in Pennsylvania

Tablet With an Online Casino With Casino Backgound

BetMGM announced last Friday that it has successfully launched in the Pennsylvania iGaming market.

In a statement, BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt said that the company is excited to launch its igaming product in the Keystone State. According to Greenblatt, players can register or connect their M Life Rewards membership with their BetMGM app account. This will enable them to earn M Life points which can be redeemed in MGM resorts across the United States:

“With more than 140 different games, including our own in-house progressive jackpot network, we’re delivering the widest range of content currently available in the state. Alongside MGM Resorts and its M life Rewards program, BetMGM will provide players with a truly unique entertainment experience.”

No Ties to a Land-Based Casino

BetMGM’s entrance in the Pennsylvania iGaming market comes with no ties to a land-based casino. The Keystone State passed a law in 2018 that allowed the Pennsylvania Gaming and Control Board the power to issue certificates to qualified gaming entities (or QGE) which are defined as companies that are active in online casino wagering in other U.S. states or foreign countries.

The Keystone State has three certificates for slot providers, three more for table game operators, and four peer-to-peer poker apps with each certificate costing $4M. BetMGM will offer both slot and table games in the Pennsylvania iGaming market. The company also offers its iGaming services in New Jersey, Nevada, and West Virginia.

BetMGM Eyeing Pennsylvania Sports Betting Market

While the certificates issued to QGEs does not include a sports betting, BetMGM revealed last Friday that it is in the process of securing the necessary license to offer sports betting in Pennsylvania. With the Keystone State emerging as the third largest sports betting market in the United States.

Last month, BetMGM announced a partnership with the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers. The deal made BetMGM the first betting company to partner with the Steelers. If BetMGM’s sports betting license is approved, it will also become an official sports betting partner of the Steelers.


Plaza Casino Announces Plan to Renovate Greyhound Bus Terminal

Mixed Image of Roulette Wheel Cards and Cash
The Plaza Hotel & Casino in downtown Las Vegas announced on Wednesday its plan to redevelop a building that currently houses the Greyhound bus terminal on the Las Vegas casino.

The bus terminal will be vacated in the middle of 2021 and Plaza has started discussions with developers on possible projects to be constructed on the area. With 48,500 square feet and adjacent parking, the Las Vegas casino says that the building is a perfect location for new entertainment, dining, and retail outlets that will revitalize the downtown Las Vegas area.

In a statement, Plaza Hotel & Casino CEO Jonathan Jossel said:

“We are very excited to usher in this new era on Main Street. Main Street is where downtown started, and today, it remains the heart of downtown, connecting a thriving Arts District, a state-of-the-art city hall, popular destinations like the Plaza, Fremont Street Experience, our newest neighbor Circa, and much more. The Plaza is proud to have held the 1 Main Street address for nearly 50 years. With Greyhound relocating, we look forward to transforming the bus station into a new, dynamic downtown destination that will improve the ambiance and sense of community on Main Street. And with Symphony Park achieving its vision as a hub of residential, commercial, and cultural offerings, enhanced connectivity to it will bolster Main Street and downtown overall.”

Pedestrian Pathway

Aside from the renovation of the Greyhound bus station, Plaza Casino will also build a four block pedestrian pathway that will connect the Las Vegas casino with a new elevated bridge which will be constructed by the city over the Union Pacific railroad tracks to the new commercial and residential developments in Symphony Park.

The pathway will boast of a desert landscaping with lighting, and a decorative safety wall that hopes to create and enjoyable and relaxing pedestrian experience.

Revitalizing Downtown Las Vegas

The two projects exemplify the commitment of the Tamares Group in revitalizing downtown Las Vegas. For over ten years, Tamares chairman and CEO Poju Zabludowicz has pushed for the development of the company’s properties in downtown Las Vegas, including the 2015 sale of the Las Vegas Club which paved way for Circa, the first new resort constructed on Fremont street since 1980.

During the previous ten years, Tamares has undertaken several expansion and improvement projects at The Plaza. Most recently, the owners of the Las Vegas casino added a 100-plus premium Luxe room and suites at the Core Arena which is an outdoor equestrian and multipurpose facility on Main street.The improvements and development are expected to continue until next year when Plaza Casino celebrates its 50th year anniversary.

Lancadia II Gets New Jersey Approval for GNOC Acquisition

Casino Chips With a Casino Floor Themed Background

The New Jersey Casino Control Commission has given the green light for the acquisition of Golden Nugget Online Gaming by Lancadia Holding II.

With the approval, GNOG is now a separate entity from its brick-and-mortar casino business. This move allows Lancadia II and GNOG to complete the merger announced earlier this year. Once that deal is consummated, the combined entity will go public and trade in the stock exchange.

Said Lancadia II co-chairman and CEO Tillman Fertitta:

“We are appreciative of the efforts of both the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement and the Casino Control Commission in approving our transaction.”

A Special Acquisition Company

Lancadia II is a special acquisition company (SPAC) or blank-check company launched by Tillman Fertitta. Fertitta is the owner of five Golden Nugget casinos-two in Nevada, one in Atlantic City, one in Biloxi, Mississippi, and one in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Lancadia II is currently traded under the symbol “LCA” but will change its name to Golden Nugget Online Gaming, Inc. with “GNOG” as its Nasdaq trading symbol.

Fertitta will remain as the chairman and CEO of GNOG. He will hold a controlling economic interest and a controlling voting interest in the merged company. Meanwhile, Thomas Winter, who was hired to develop Golden Nugget’s online gaming business, will continue to serve as the company’s president.

Second Publicly Traded Online Casino

Golden Nugget Online Gaming is affiliated with Golden Nugget/Landry’s hospitality, gaming, and restaurant business owned and operated by Fertitta. It started operations in 2013 and has seen a 50% CAGR revenue growth since 2014. GNOG will become only the second pure publicly traded online casino in the United States

GNOG’s merger with Lancadia II was first announced in June 2020. Once completed, the merged company will have an anticipated pro forma enterprise value of $645M. That amount is six times the projected $122M 2021 projected revenue of GNOG. Lancadia will assume $150M of GNOG debs while paying down at closing and additional $150M of its own debt, plus pay prepayment fees, transaction fees, and expenses.

Strong Presence in New Jersey

Golden Nugget reported an online gaming revenue of over $28M in New Jersey, easily the biggest for New Jersey online gaming operators. From January to October 2020, Golden Nugget had a total online gaming revenue of $263M according to the monthly state reports.

GNOG will enter the Pennsylvania and Michigan markets once their applications in those states are approved. It plans to enter both markets in early 2021. Last week, GNOG also entered into an agreement with the Danville Development LLC for access to the Illinois market for online gaming and sports betting once these are legalized. The Danville casino will also be branded as Golden Nugget.