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Mini Casino Coming Near Penn State University

Written By Nicholaus Garcia | Updated:
steve lubert pennsylvania mini casino mall

There is a new Pennsylvania satellite casino or mini-casino on the way. 

For two years, Ira Lubert, SC Gaming OpCo and Bally’s, have been trying to redevelop the College Township mall into a casino. On Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) finally approved a Category 4 license for Lubert’s casino development company. 

Fifth Pennsylvania mini-casino on the way

The Nittany Mall Casino will be the state’s fifth Category 4 casino. Its been over two years since Lubert won a $10 million auction to apply for a PA casino license. 

The $127 million project will outfit the 94,000-square-foot former Macy’s property with 750 slot machines and 30 table games. 

Although Lubert can celebrate a win, not everyone in the community is on board with the new casino. 

Community not happy with PGCB’s decision

Andrew Shaffer, a State College resident, said it is still possible for the Cordish Companies to appeal the PGCB’s decision to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. 

Shaffer, a software developer at Penn State’s Applied Research Lab, has been leading a local movement to stop the development. 

In 2020, Lubert outbid Cordish, which operates two casinos in Pennsylvania — Live! Casino Hotel Philadelphia and Live! Casino Pittsburghfor the right to apply for a casino license. 

“It is also possible that the Commonwealth Court will overturn the PGCB’s granting of the license as a result of the parallel court case that is still ongoing,” Shaffer said. 

“However, if the casino’s development does move forward, Lubert’s team reports that construction of the casino is expected to take about 12 months.”

Shaffer said he was also upset the PGCB made no mention of the community’s opposition to the casino. 

“Our community had no one in [the] hearing to represent us — precisely because the PGCB closed the public comment period seven months ago. They ignored the comments that were submitted before then, and they refused to allow public comment at this meeting.”

For now, it appears Lubert and his partners can move forward with the casino project. Once finished, the casino will be only a six-minute drive from Penn State University. 

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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick Garcia is a senior reporter for PlayUSA. Garcia provides analysis and in-depth coverage of the gambling industry with a key focus on online casinos, sports betting and financial markets. Garcia has been covering the US gambling market since 2017. He attended Texas Tech University as an undergrad and received a Master of Arts in Journalism from Columbia College Chicago.

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