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Penn National's mini-casino at York Galleria remains on pause

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch

Construction on the mini-casino slated to take over the space of a former Sears in the York Galleria has not yet resumed after a temporary halt, officials said Tuesday.

Hollywood Casino's construction was paused  March 17 in response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s call for a statewide shutdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Jeff Morris, a spokesperson for Penn National Gaming Inc. 

"We were forced to temporarily shut down construction due to the virus and are currently evaluating the timing of resuming construction," Morris said.

The Hollywood Casino construction site at the York Galleria Mall Monday, June 22, 2020. Bill Kalina photo

Springettsbury Township Supervisor Don Bishop said he's been in contact with Penn National and was assured the gambling company is committed to finishing construction at the mall.

Bishop, who also serves as a liaison to the township's community development department, said he was told that Penn National intends to focus on reopening existing facilities before completing new projects like the mini-casino. 

"Their intention is to complete that project, but I'm not aware of any timeline," Bishop said. "The project is definitely delayed."

The Hollywood Casino construction site at the York Galleria Mall Monday, June 22, 2020. Bill Kalina photo

In December, the state Gaming Control Board unanimously approved a gambling license sought by Penn National, which intends to open Hollywood Casino in Springettsbury Township. 

The $120 million project was formerly estimated to be completed in 12 months, officials said.

Morris refused to answer questions about whether the pause in construction would delay the opening.

Penn National Gaming submitted its application to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, including a rending of the proposed "Hollywood Casino York."

More:State board OKs Hollywood Casino gambling license in Springetts

More:Springettsbury board OKs projects for mini-casino

When construction stopped, crews had been working on building a new mall entrance onto Whiteford Road, Bishop said.  As it stands, though, that exit remains torn up.

"We've been encouraging them to prioritize that at least," Bishop said. 

Hollywood Casino at the York Galleria  was the third Category 4 license that had been approved by the state after a 2017 expansion in Pennsylvania gambling laws allowing for up to 10 permits for these "satellite" casinos. 

Penn National selected the York Galleria as the site of the first mini-casino in September 2018. The company bid the highest — $50 million — to place a casino in York County.

Last August, the Springettsbury Township Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve a conditional use application for construction of the casino. 

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.