Published: August 8, 2018

Mini-casino won’t be in Lancaster

Mount Airy chooses Beaver County spot



Tom HarrisonEagle Staff Writer

That mini-casino won’t be built in Lancaster Township, or anywhere else in Butler County.

Lawrence County won’t get a casino either, although officials there have flirted with potential developers for a couple of decades.

Instead, Mount Airy Casino announced Monday it would put its western operations in Beaver County near the junction of Interstate 376 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike, at a location west of Ellwood City.

Mount Airy, based along Interstate 80 in the Poconos in Monroe County, said it has acquired more than 100 acres in Big Beaver Borough and expects to break ground this fall. Mount Airy Pittsburgh Casino Resort should open in late 2019, with hundreds of jobs and millions in gambling tax revenue.

“This is an exciting time of economic development in Beaver County that will be further spurred by Mount Airy’s new investment,” Daniel Camp, chairman of the Beaver County commissioners, said in a release. “I welcome the economic growth and entertainment options this will bring not only to the citizens of Beaver County, but to those in neighboring regions. After working with the Mount Airy management team for the past several months, I know they will be great partners for Beaver County and Big Beaver Borough.”

The casino will include 750 slot machines, 30 table games, a buffet and sports bar. A second phase of construction will add a resort hotel, convention center, restaurant, pool, spa and salon and other “destination-focused” amenities.

In February, Mount Airy submitted a winning bid of $21.1 million for one of 10 mini-casino licenses across Pennsylvania.

Under their bid, Mount Airy officials committed to locating the casino within a 15-mile radius of New Castle in Lawrence County.

That bid gave Mount Airy exclusive rights not only to the intersection of I-376 and the Turnpike, but also to the intersections of Interstates 79 and 80 as well as I-79 and Route 422. A competing casino’s bid for a Mercer County location was denied because its proposed 15-mile buffer would have overlapped the Mount Airy buffer.

Municipalities in that radius — which encompassed portions of Lawrence, Mercer, Butler and Beaver counties — had the opportunity to opt out of allowing a casino.

Big Beaver was one of two municipalities in Beaver County not to opt out. Residents in Lancaster Township had expressed worries and anger that their supervisors had neglected to opt out.