Officials Approve Penn National Mini Casino Despite Opposition

Approved stamp

30-second summary:

  • Caernarvon Township supervisors have approved Penn National’s plans for a mini casino in Morgantown
  • The approval was given despite resident’s opposition to the plans
  • The Hollywood Casino Morgantown will cost $111m (€98m) to build and will include slots and table games

After a controversial hearing took place regarding Penn National’s plans to create a mini casino in Morgantown, officials have given the go-ahead. The company received approval this week to continue with its plans for the Hollywood Casino Morgantown.

Mini casino approval

The supervisors of the Caernarvon Township provided their approval for preliminary and final plans of the Hollywood Casino Morgantown project. Penn National will build an 85,900 square foot facility in Berks County, spending $111m (€98m) to do so.

The 36-acre property where the casino will be located is off the Morgantown turnpike exit, Interstate 76. The company plans to offer 750 slot machines and 30 table games. Also in the plans are a sportsbook for additional betting. A food court, restaurant and entertainment lounge have also been added to the project.

The new mini casino is set to bring employment as well as tourism to the region, which will spur the local economy. According to estimations, the new casino should bring in around $94.3m (€83.3m) in revenues to the local economy.

Greater Reading Chamber Alliance president and CEO Randy Peers said: “We anticipate that there will be a significant amount of direct and indirect economic activity generated in and around the area near the casino.

“The influx of many new people coming to play at the casino will positively impact small businesses in the area, including restaurants, hotels and retail shops. The casino itself will become a destination.”

Controversial start

Around 250 people attended the first meeting regarding the casino plans, and many were opposed to the project. According to VSO News, opponents of the Hollywood Casino Morgantown had varying concerns. Some are worried about addiction and family problems, while others are worried about crime.

Opponents voiced their opinions during the meeting, with religious groups as well as individuals on hand to speak out against the proposed mini casino.

During the second meeting, when approval was given, around 40 people were in attendance and in favor of the outcome. Penn National must now complete additional approvals before being able to move forward with the project.

Next steps

Penn National must now provide the Caernarvon Township with the necessary agreements, which includes financial security. The company has 90 days to provide this information. The project must also be approved by the Berks County Conservation District, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and other groups.

Penn National hopes to begin construction in 2020 and open the new mini casino by the fall of that year.