Spokesman: Westmoreland casino review process could take months
Approval for the proposed mini casino at Westmoreland Mall could take months, a spokesman for the state gaming board said Thursday.
A lengthy review process for the proposal submitted this week to build a gaming facility at the soon-to-be-vacant Bon-Ton department store in Hempfield will feature a thorough inspection of the application and a vetting of the company that said it intends to open the casino that will feature 750 slot machines and 30 table games.
“At sometime in the future, we will hold a public hearing in the township where the facility is located,” said Doug Harbach, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
Stadium Casino LLC, a joint venture of two companies working to open a $600 million casino and retail development in Philadelphia, formally filed its application for a facility at the mall that it says will be a mix of gaming and entertainment.
The company has released few details about its plans for the mall casino. It will be a 100,000-square-foot development and employ about 600 workers. It said there was no timetable to open.
Company officials have not responded to requests for additional comments.
Harbach said particulars in the application on file in Harrisburg will be released after it is reviewed for completeness, a process that could take several weeks or months, he said.
Stadium Casino paid $40.1 million in January to purchase one of 10 mini casino licenses available in Pennsylvania. Its project initially identified a 15-mile radius centered in Derry Township for the casino before selecting the mall location.
Westmoreland officials said they have had no prior contact with the casino developers but expect to meet with them soon.
“I’m just happy the casino will be in Westmoreland County,” Commissioner Gina Cerilli said.
“It’s good for jobs, good for tourism, good for our residents and good for our tax base,” Commissioner Ted Kopas said.
In addition to tax revenue expected to be generated from the development, commissioners said the county will receive annual funding based on a percentage of money gambled at the casino. Officials estimate that could amount to between $800,000 to $1 million a year.
“It’s economic development. I see it as a boon. Peripheral things will spring up around it. It will turn Westmoreland County and the area into a destination,” Commissioner Charles Anderson said.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293 or [email protected]