Recently, online casino operator Bally’s has partnered with Penn State alumnus and former university trustee, Ira Lubert. This alliance formed soon after he won the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s (PGCB) auction in September 2020 for a Category 4 online satellite casino. It was a competitive bidding process between Lubert and Cordish Companies, who were both qualified as they held ownership stakes in a slot machine license in the Commonwealth.
Employing his 3% stake in Rivers Casino Pittsburgh, Lubert achieved success against the Baltimore-based firm and their Life! Casino Hotel Philadelphia and Live! Casino Pittsburgh, another Category 4 property. With this partnership, it looks like Bally’s will have some exciting opportunities ahead of them.
Citizens Of State College Have Expressed Strong Opposition
In 2017, Pennsylvania’s gaming law made a big expansion. This included iGaming, retail and online sports betting, video gaming terminals at truck stops, fantasy sports, and Category 4 casinos. Understandably, many townships took the opportunity to opt out of providing mini-casinos or satellite casinos in their town/area.
Surprisingly though, College Township rejected this option as 46,000 undergrads attend university nearby. Subsequently, action by the local community against this decision was significant. The College Township Council has since expressed its regret over the outcome – a reminder that it’s important to listen to the voice of the people when making important decisions in local government and politics.
Over the course of the PGCB’s public input period, more than 5,000 letters were sent in to rigorously oppose Bally’s plan due to a wide range of issues. After this window closed, Penn State citizens continued their efforts by utilizing media outlets such as allowing them to continue making sure that their opinions are being heard and taken into consideration.
Taking Into Account The Voice Of The People
The online casino market has been a major focus for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) in recent years. As such, when Bally’s submitted its application to construct a gaming facility in College Township, opposition from the local community was taken into consideration. The PGCB promised to weigh the feedback and make a final decision as to whether or not they will grant Bally’s a license and approve the online casino plans.
Given that College Township did not opt-out before the state’s deadline in 2019, it remains unclear whether or not the PGCB would be willing to deny Bally’s an online casino license solely on account of public opposition. If they choose to do so then Bally’s is sure to appeal this decision. On the other hand, if the PGCB signs off on Bally’s online casino plans then Cordish will likely appeal that decision as well. It remains to be seen which side will come out successful at the end of this debate.