County trying to attract a mini-casino – Sharonherald

JOHN ZAVINSKI | Herald file The Shenango Valley Mall in Hermitage lost two of its three department store anchors in 2017. The mall is being floated as a possible Mercer County site for a mini-casino, as is the area of Springfield Township near the Grove City Premium Outlets.

SHARON — When Randy Seitz saw the price tag – $50.1 million – for the first of Pennsylvania’s 10 mini-casino licenses, he was more than surprised.

“I was shocked. We were guessing the first bid would be 10 to 15 million,” said Seitz, president and CEO of Penn-Northwest Development Corp., Mercer County’s lead economic-development agency.

Penn National Gaming, which operates the Hollywood Casino near Harrisburg, won the right to develop a casino in Yoe, York County. Penn National’s properties include Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course in Austintown, Ohio.

The licenses are being auctioned off to 10 casino developers in Pennsylvania, with auctions held every two weeks. The minimum bid is $7.5 million for the license, with an additional $2.5 million for table games, said Peggy Mazyck, CEO of the Mercer County Visitors and Convention Bureau.

“We hope to have a casino here in Mercer County. The tourism board feels it would help to become an all-season destination,” she said.

The slow months for tourism in Mercer County are usually January through April, due to a lack of facilities for winter events such as skiing. But with a year-round entertainment venue such as a casino or indoor water park, the county would be able to attract visitors year-round and provide incentive for shopping in the area and overnight visits, Mazyck said.

“What we’re doing is sending letters out to the casino owners, and saying all of the things we have that would

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