Bally’s to Build Mini-Casino in Pennsylvania

With its rebrand late last year, the acquisition of several casinos around the US, and the purchase of a sports betting platform provider, casino operator Bally’s Corporation indicated that it has big plans for the future.

As part of these plans, the company announced Monday that it is set to further expand its operations with the development of a mini-casino in Pennsylvania.

Bally’s announcement came just as the state’s 13 land-based casinos resumed operations after a three-week shutdown mandated by Gov. Tom Wolf as part of his administration’s efforts to tackle a spike in new Covid-19 cases in mid-December.

Bally’s said Monday that it has inked a framework agreement with real estate and private equity investor Ira Lubert to jointly design, build, and run a Category 4 casino near Penn State University. As part of Pennsylvania’s gambling expansion effort that was given the nod by Gov. Wolf in the fall of 2017, the state Gaming Control Board can issue up to 10 licenses for Category 4 gambling venues also known as mini-casinos.

The Cordish Companies launched the state’s first mini-casinoLive! Casino Pittsburgh – in November 2020. The property operated for a couple of weeks before it was ordered to close temporarily along with its counterparts around the state.

Bally’s Pennsylvania Casino

In September, Mr. Lubert beat out one other bidder for a mini-casino license that can be built within a 15-mile radius of Unionville, Centre County. Mr. Lubert qualified to participate in the bidding process because he is a partner in Rivers Casino Pittsburgh. He is not required to name a specific location for the mini-casino, until he submits formal paperwork with the state gaming regulator, which he has to do by March.

Bally’s said Monday that its joint casino with Mr. Lubert will be located near the Nitanny Mall in State College. However, the company was unable to provide an exact location for the future gambling venue.

The casino operator will acquire a majority interest in its partnership with the real estate investor, including 100% of the economic interests of all retail sports betting and online casino and wagering associated with the mini-casino.

The facility will feature 750 slot machines and 30 table games as well as a retail sportsbook, and will also offer digital gambling experience.

Bally’s said that construction is expected to commence in the first half of the year and to take approximately one year, subject to regulatory approvals.

Bally’s currently owns 11 casinos across seven states as well as a horse racetrack and 13 OTB licenses in Colorado. The company is in the process of acquiring Tropicana Evansville in Indiana, Jumer’s Casino & Hotel in Illinois, and MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa in Nevada. Including these three and its future mini-casino in Pennsylvania, the company’s portfolio is set to grow to 15 casinos across 11 states.

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