Pennsylvania has always been viewed as a very progressive state when it comes to gambling. Starting with a land-based casino network across the state, lawmakers have always been open to new and exciting ways to expand. Online sports betting in Pennsylvania is also a going concern, as well as horse racing.
A gambling extension bill of few years back in October of 2017 paved the way for online casino sites, poker rooms and legal sports betting. Part of that expansion also created gaming licenses for satellite casinos. Pennsylvania also has an online lottery.
Currently, there are 12 full-service land-based casinos operating across the Keystone State. A 13th venue is in the works for Philadelphia’s Stadium Park. All of theses properties operate with a Category 1,2 or 3 license classification according to state gaming records.
The satellite casino program utilizes a Category 4 classification. Under the original expansion act, the state can issue up to 10 Category 4 casino licenses. The plan was to issue these licenses through an auction open to Category 1 and 2 casinos to draw some business back to PA from New Jersey casinos.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board issued five mini-casino licenses during the first few round of auctions starting in January of 2018. As of now, the other five remain open.
The first of these satellite casinos is ready to final open its doors for business. Live! Casino Pittsburgh is putting the finishing touches on its brand new venue. Under state law, it can offer up to 750 slot machines and 30 table games.
The company behind the project is Baltimore’s Cordish Companies. The group secured the Category 4 license during the second round of auctions in 2018 with a $40.1 million offer.
This will be the first successful bid to turn its plans into reality. On Tuesday, Nov. 24, the new casino is set to open its doors to the public at 6 p.m.
It took more that three years to complete but Live! Casino Pittsburgh has big plans for the smaller gambling venue.
Another stipulation for satellite casinos was location. They need to be placed at least 50 miles away from any other land-based casino in the state. Cordish settled on the Westmoreland Mall east of Pittsburgh.
This location is roughly 30 miles from the city boundaries. The casino will occupy the space of the former Bon-Ton department store.
A recent tweet from Live! Casino Pittsburgh stated:
“Let the countdown begin! Live! Casino Pittsburgh will be open to the public starting on Tue, Nov 24! Get in on the action by signing up for our Live! Rewards Card now.”
The total cost of the project exceeds $150 million. The two-story space covers 100,000 square feet. Along with the casino, there will be plenty of space for dining and entertainment venues.
One of the big drawls will be the 455-seat sportsbook in conjunction with FanDuel. This will feature a 45-foot high-definition video screen that will be visible from both floors.
Sean Sullivan is the Live! Casino Pittsburgh general manager. He made the following statement as part of a company press release:
“Live! Casino is going to up the ante on entertainment for everyone in the Greater Pittsburgh Region.”