Hollywood Casino York is set to open to the general public on Thursday, August 12. The casino is taking the space of what was formerly the Sears department store at the York Galleria Mall.
Penn National Gaming (PNG) was adamantly against Pennsylvania’s 2017 Gaming Expansion Act. The bill, among other new forms of gaming, authorized Category 4 casinos. The so-called “mini-casino” licenses were initially auctioned off only to current casino operators.
PNG, despite its opposition to the new casino licenses, nonetheless won the first auction round with a massive $50.1 million bid. Penn selected Springettsbury Township for its new casino venue.
The countdown to our grand opening begins today,” said Ruben Warren, vice president and general manager of Hollywood Casino York. “We’re very excited to soon welcome patrons to this beautiful new property, where they’ll be able to experience premier gaming, dining, and entertainment.”
Hollywood Casino York will open with 500 slot machines and 24 table games. The 80,000-square-foot venue will additionally feature Pennsylvania’s first Barstool Sportsbook, plus a casual restaurant and bar. Penn’s $120.1 million on Hollywood Casino York is inclusive of its bidding fee price.
Prior to its August 12 opening, Hollywood York will hold two invite-only test days. Proceeds from those days will be given to local charities.
Penn’s Big Bet
Penn National Gaming said it made the large $50.1 million bid during the first Category 4 auction round in January of 2018 to make sure it could pick Springettsbury and the York area. PNG explained that York is a major thoroughfare for its patrons at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Grantville, Pa.
Hollywood at Penn National relies on northern Maryland for a substantial portion of its visitors. Allowing a competitor to set up a satellite casino in York, PNG reasoned, would greatly impact its Grantville casino.
“It was an investment we felt like we had to make to protect a major market area for our casino [at Penn National Race Course]. That cannibalization would have been, in our view, very significant,” explained Eric Schippers, Penn National’s senior vice president of public affairs.
Before Hollywood York opens, however, PNG says they need more help. Penn is offering to train people to become table game dealers, and give them a $1,000 bonus on their first paycheck. After 90 days of employment, table game dealers will receive an additional $500 award.
PNG paid $10 million more than any other casino company did for a Category 4 license in the state.
Satellite Winner – Location – Bid Price
- Penn National Gaming, York County $50.1 million
- Stadium Casino, LLC, Hempfield Township $40.1 million
- Mount Airy Casino Resort, Beaver County $21.18 million
- Parx Casino, Shippensburg Township 8.11 million
- Penn National Gaming, Berks County $7.5 million
Following no qualifying bids in September of 2019, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board opened up the process to principal investors in one of the state’s 13 full-scale casinos. Pennsylvania businessman and Penn State University alum Ira Lubert, who holds a three percent ownership stake in Rivers Casino Pittsburgh, won the sixth satellite auction round with a bid of $10,000,101.
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