The land development plan for the proposed casino at the former Macy’s property at the Nittany Mall has been approved by the College Township Council.
The project is still awaiting the approval of its Category 4 casino license from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board before the it can move ahead. The Board held a public input meeting last month and it will hold another similar discussion on a future date where the developer will be given the opportunity to present the plans for the board to vote and decide.
The Nittany Casino
Dubbed as the Nittany Casino in the plans, the project is expected to have 750 slot machines and 30 table games with sports betting also being eyed. A restaurant, bar, mini-outlet, and a quick serve food and beverage area are also in the works in the said casino project.
According to Chad Stafford of project engineer PenTerra, there will be few major renovations to be done for the exterior of the 94,000 square foot facility. However, a sally port will be added on the building’s Benner Pike side while a large canopy will be placed on top of the main entrance on the East College Avenue side.
New License in Centre County
Last September, Penn State trustee Ira Lubert won an auction for a Category 4 gaming license to be situated at Centre County with a $10M bid. In January, Bally’s Corporation announced that it had entered into an agreement with Lubert to develop the $123M mini-casino. Lubert’s group submitted an application that named the former Macy’s at the Nittany Mall as its targeted location.
According to Lubert, a casino at the Nittany Mall would reinvigorate the property and draw many new businesses to the mall itself and the surrounding area. That in turn will create jobs for local residents and hellp drive the region’s economy forward while also providing a new entertainment venue that the community can enjoy.
Online casino brand PlayStar has secured market access to Pennsylvania through a multi-year partnership with Caesars Entertainment.
Its launch in Pennsylvania, targeted for Q2 of next year, will double its reachable market in terms of population and gaming revenue.
Per Adam Noble, co-founder and Chief Business Development Officer at PlayStar Casino in a statement:
“We are thrilled to have secured market access in Pennsylvania through this multi-year deal with Caesars, allowing us to double our addressable market. This is the second market access deal we have secured after announcing our entry into New Jersey earlier in the year and will continue to seek such partnerships as we expand the PlayStar Casino brand. We are looking forward to working through the regulatory process with the Pennsylvanian Gaming Control Board (PGCB) and all going we’ll look forward to launching to players in Pennsylvania in the first half of next year.”
Powered by the GiG Platform
PlayStar will be powered by the GiG platform after announcing a long-term partnership with the Gaming Innovation Group last February. Under the agreement, GiG will supply its iGaming platform technologies to PlayStar as was seen during the latter’s entry into New Jersey earlier this year.
The addition of Pennsylvania as its second market will allow PlayStar to use the spill over effects of its marketing and brand awareness campaign in the Garden State to help its local campaigns in the new market.
2nd Largest Gaming Market
Pennsylvania is the 2nd largest gaming market in the United States with the Keystone State reporting a third consecutive record breaking month the last time out. Gross gaming revenue across all legal channels totaled $413,182,161 for the month of May, eclipsing the previous record of $403M set by April 2021.
Despite its current performance, industry experts believe that the Pennsylvania gaming market is far from reaching its full potential. With its personalized and exemplary customer service strategy, PlayStar hopes to get a god share of the pie in that emerging Pennsylvania market.
Updated projections on the economic impact of the planned Pennsylvania casino at Centre County reveal eye opening figures.
Among the highlights are the first year revenue projection of $91M and more than $100M one year after that. The projections also predict an annual new tax revenue of $60,000 for Centre County plus 500 permanent jobs in College Township, where the casino will operate for at least a decade.
Located At The Former Macy’s Site
The new Pennsylvania casino would be built on the former Macy’s at the Nittany Mall, which is an ideal location because of the ample free parking space on that side of the mall. Construction is expected to begin later this year, with the casino opening being targeted for next year.
As a mini-casino with a Category 4 license, the planned Pennsylvania casino is expected to have 300-750 slot machines. For an extra fee of $2.5M, the licensee can apply to add up to 30 gaming tables, with the option to add another 10 after one year of operations. Sports betting is also an option but at another additional cost of $10M in licensing fees.
$120M Mini-Casino Project
Last January, Bally’s Corporation announced that it had signed and agreement with Penn State alumnus Ira Lubert to jointly design, develop, construct, and manage a $120M mini-casino project in Centre County. Under the deal, Bally’s will acquire a major interest in the partnership, including 100% interest in retail sports betting, online sports betting, and iGaming activities.
If approved, the casino will breathe some life back to the Nittany Mall which has lost several of its top stores in recent years. Macy’s, Sears, JC Penney, and Bon-Ton have all left Centre County and right now, there is only one anchor store left in the mall-Dunham Sports. With these closures, hundreds of jobs in the area have been lost.