Thursday, December 8, 2022
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Nittany Mall Casino Hearing Delayed for a Month

A hearing regarding a Bally’s Corporation casino, which was planned to be placed inside the State College shopping complex, was scheduled to be held on Wednesday but was postponed for at least another month.

In July, per a hearing officer’s order, the said hearing regarding petitions to intervene was set for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) meeting on October 19. During the meeting, the board was supposed to hear arguments from parties who sought to intervene and oppose the granting of the casino license to the developer SC Gaming OpCo, which is controlled by Penn State alumnus and Ira Lubert.

PGCBNeeded More Time to Review Documents

However, Doug Harbach, a spokesperson of PGCB, sent an email, according to which there had been quite a few documents lodged concerning this matter, which had to be reviewed by all parties in the case, including PGCB. In this case, the board needed more time to check the documents and could not issue a decision this month.

Bally’s Corporation planned to transform the former Macy’s department store at the Nittany Mall into a Category 4 “mini-casino” with 750 slot machines, 30 table games, a sportsbook, a restaurant and bar, an entertainment venue, and a multi-outlet quick-serve food and beverage area as well.

Locals from the State College community, home of Penn State University’s main campus, opposed Bally’s plan for a casino. This led to a change in the College Township Council’s opinion, which, prior to that, supported the idea of the casino.

Councilors of the College Township were considering their options to stop the $123 million gaming project. In addition, earlier the local government decided not to spend taxpayer money on a detailed review of the results from the existence of a casino in Happy Valley. Louis Glantz, a Township Solicitor, stated that the council should not conduct such a study.

Attempting to persuade a state agency to circumvent the developer’s approval would be an intentional attempt to interfere with the land development approval.

Louis Glantz, township solicitor

Glants warned that any such interference by the municipality “could and likely would” result in a lawsuit against the township.

The proposed casino is planned for a property in College Township, but it is otherwise not associated with Penn State University.

Matt Schuyler, trustee chair, PA Board of Trustees

Schuyler, who is also the chief brand officer at the hospitality giant Hilton, added that decisions regarding the opening of casinos are made by local municipalities in collaboration with the PGCB. He emphasized that individuals have no place to share their opposition or support of such private endeavors.

The Board of Trustees concluded that it has neither a stance on the project nor the means to support it or stop a private and legal operation.

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