January 29, 2023

In the last public hearing on the licensing of the Nittany Mall Casinothe Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) voted in favor today Grant Category 4 license to Ira Luberts Casino development company, SC Gaming OpCo and Bally’s.

The states fifth The category 4 PA casino license comes two and a half years after Lubert won an auction to bid with a 10 million dollars Bid. the $127 million casino project is planned for the 94,000 square meter former Macy’s estate college community shopping mall.

This will worry hundreds of those affected Center County Citizens who think gambling should stay away Penn State University Park. no Public comments were heard during this hearing, which was broadcast live on the PGCB website.

State College resident Andrew Schaffer told Play Pennsylvania The PGCB commissioners did not mention his community’s opposition to the casino during the hearing. However, comments by Lubert’s team that the State College community and their local area leaders were very supportive of the casino were allowed to go unchallenged in the records.

Lubert’s lawyer rejected the local opposition

“The only mention of our community’s opposition to the casino was a snide remark from Mr. Lubert’s attorney, who pointed out that some people are opposed to this casino because they are opposed to gambling in general and recommended that the commissioners remove any opposition against the casino should be ignored because the Commonwealth legalized gambling in 2004,” Shaffer said.

Cyrus PitriChief Enforcement Counsel at the Office of the Enforcement Attorney (OEC), asked the Board to move forward with the review of this application.

“There is nothing improper about the application,” Pitri told the board. “Future ownership cannot arise unless a petition is made to that board and that board approves that request. Anything else jeopardizes the application; it jeopardizes the license.”

cordan companythe rival casino developer, challenged Lubert’s claim to the license for the proposed casino at this hearing.

Cordish argues against the PA Casino Category 4 license

Cordish’s attorney, Mark A. Aronchickargued that the casino should not consider the application because Lubert allegedly transfer ownership interests in the casino to unnamed, unlicensed investors in violation of state gaming act.

“We have a legal right that the General Assembly gave us as a second bidder to contest what happened with the first bid,” he said aronchick. “It is a legal right; they are not sour grapes. The General Assembly wants people in our position to rise to these challenges.”

aronchick objected that it is confidential to look at transaction documents which Lubert has received. The whiteboard denied their movement to other data.

aronchick also objected to the Board’s announcement of this hearing two weeks ago. He said:

“Until two weeks ago we didn’t know there would be a hearing today. And then we put together this report that we presented on Monday. Anything filed Monday was moved to evidence.”

The board decided that the report not up-to-datej. “It’s not fair, it’s not right,” he said aronchick. “You could have easily managed an answer.”

He argued that the Chamber did not have the discretion to unilaterally determine its own jurisdiction. Aronchick continued:

“With all due respect, you don’t. It’s an abuse of discretion, a gross abuse. It violates our legal rights. It’s against due process. This is unprecedented and not what the General Assembly intended.”

SC Gaming claims PGCB has legal powers

Stephan Kastenberg with Ballard Spahr LLP, counsel for SC Gaming, said although his colleague (aronchick) “Had happily reiterated today and last month that this is a matter of jurisdiction and statutory powers for the board, it is not. You have the legal authority to review, deny, and approve licenses. That is your legal authority.”

He said they agreed with the panel’s decision not to consider the report.

Bally’s Partnered with Penn State alumnus and former university administrator Lubert. The alliance was formed shortly after he won the September 2020 PGCB auction for a Category 4 satellite casino. Lubert outbid Cordish, which operates two casinos in Pennsylvania – Reside! Casino Hotel Philadelphia and Reside! Casino Pittsburgh.

Lubert and Cordish qualified to participate in the September 2020 auction because they held ownership interests in a Commonwealth slot machine license. Lubert owns one 3% share in Rivers Casino Pittsburgh.

Lubert’s competitor can appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Shaffer said it was still possible for Lubert’s competitors to appeal the PGCB’s grant of the casino license Pennsylvania Highest courtand they do not believe the license can be issued until the appeals process is complete accomplished.

“It is also possible that the Commonwealth Court will reverse the grant of the license by the PGCB as a result of the ongoing parallel court case,” he said. “However, as the development of the casino progresses, Lubert’s team reports that the construction of the casino is expected to take around 12 months.”

Shaffer said this indicates the PGCB was thoroughly captured by the gambling interests who should regulate it.

“Our community had no one to represent us at today’s hearing – precisely because the PGCB ended the public comment period 7 months ago, it ignored the comments submitted prior to that and refused to allow public comment at that meeting. Today’s hearing was all about two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat for dinner.”

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