Just in time for Thanksgiving, and amid a trend that is finding more casinos shutting down because of COVID-19, Pennsylvania is about to get a new gambling property. The Cordish Companies will open its first retail casino in the state next week when it holds a full launch of its Live! Casino Pittsburgh on November 24. The casino has been holding soft launches leading up to the big day and is apparently now ready to take the plunge.
This venue is one of five satellite casinos Pennsylvania gaming regulators have approved to be built as the state’s gaming market continues to expand. The Cordish Companies, which has primarily focused on the development of entertainment districts, brought its Live! brand to the state a couple of months ago with an online alternative and is now heading into the brick-and-mortar gaming segment.
The new venue can be found at an existing shopping mall, making it the first to be set up in a commercial shopping center. The timing couldn’t be better, as the Live! Casino Pittsburgh will be able to capitalize on any foot traffic available as consumers get into the holiday gift-buying spirit. At the same time, however, COVID-19 is going to keep a certain crowd away. However, Jon Cordish of The Cordish Companies is ready, and states, “As a family-owned business for over 100 years, today marks a special day for my family and The Cordish Companies, as we expand our Live! Casino brand into Pennsylvania for the first time.”
The venue covers two floors and the first floor includes 30 gaming tables and 750 slot machines, as well as a sportsbook operated by FanDuel. The upper floor includes dining and drinking options, such as Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen + Bar and the Sports & Social Steel City, and is open to all ages. Access to the casino, however, is restricted and no one under 21 can enter.
More satellite casinos are on their way to Pennsylvania. Penn National Gaming holds two licenses and is in the process of trying to complete properties in Morgantown and York. Parx Casino has one license for a venue in Shippensburg and another license, held by Ira Lubert of private equity firm LLR Partners, is to be built close to Penn State University.
The potential revenue streams from the new gaming satellites are expected to give Pennsylvania a boost, even though it’s one of the few states that continues to climb quickly out of the COVID-19 hole. Having been intelligent enough to open online gaming and sports gambling, the state hasn’t suffered nearly as much as others, but just Live! Pittsburgh alone is expected to provide a significant injection. Cordish believes it will lead to the creation of as many as 500 permanent jobs, $188 million to the local economy and $47.5 million in tax revenue.