On January 4, 2021, Bally’s Corporation announced that it will open a category four casino in Centre County, Pennsylvania. This will be a “mini casino” with up to 750 slot machines and 30 table games, and it will fill a geographical gap in a state where most casino properties are located close to its borders.
The $120 million project is in partnership with Ira Lubert, a Pennsylvania casino real estate developer whose portfolio includes Rivers Casino Pittsburgh and Valley Forge Casino Resort. The projected date of completion is mid-2022.
What To Expect From The Bally’s Pennsylvania Project
The Bally’s casino in Centre County will be located smack dab in the center of the state, within a 15-mile radius of Unionville Borough in Fleming, PA. Construction is predicted to begin in 2021, and it’s expected to take about one year to complete.
So, right off the bat, that means hundreds of construction jobs as well as hundreds of permanent casino jobs. When those numbers become clearer, you can expect a major announcement from Bally’s. The job creation alone creates a significant injection of opportunity into the area.
What Is A Category Four Casino?
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) issues four types of land-based casino licenses in the state. Category one is a racino (race track with casino games), two is a stand-alone casino, three is a casino resort, and four is a “satellite casino.” These categories dictate how many games a property can legally feature on its casino floor.
As a category four satellite casino, Bally’s in Pennsylvania can have no more than 750 slot machines and 30 table games upon launch. Ten more table games can then be added after the first year.
And it seems like Bally’s will be going for the maximum number of allowed games. Further, they will almost assuredly receive a retail sports betting license and offer an on-site sportsbook lounge as well, adding to the growing list of Pennsylvania sportsbooks.
Bally’s Online Sportsbook And Casino In Pennsylvania
Bally’s will need to apply for a separate license to launch an online casino or sportsbook in the state of Pennsylvania. But they’ve made it clear that they plan to do exactly that.
According to George Papanier, CEO and President of Bally’s Corporation: “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.”
Translation: Bally’s sports betting and casino apps are coming soon.
A major hurdle to launching an online gambling platform in Pennsylvania is the requirement to partner with a land-based property. Bally’s has that covered with the upcoming Centre County location. But they could also launch once the land-based casino begins construction.
For example, BetMGM launched in Pennsylvania in partnership with Hollywood Casino Morgantown – despite the land-based property still under construction.
Therefore, there’s a somewhat likely scenario where Bally’s online sportsbook and casino will be available before the launch of the land-based Bally’s property.
Bally’s Is Back
Bally’s was a Caesars Entertainment property for 15 years until October 2020, when Twin Rivers Worldwide Holdings bought the brand for $20 million.
Since then, the company changed its name to Bally’s Corporation, and the Caesars-owned Bally’s properties will change their name accordingly in the upcoming months.
However, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Bally’s Corporation will buy Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel and Casino as well as other branded properties. That will be added to its portfolio of 14 existing casinos across the US, including Bally’s Atlantic City.
As Bally’s CEO and President George Papanier put it: “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.”