Acting through its affiliate, Stadium Casino Westmoreland RE LLC, The Cordish Cos. has broken ground on the 100,000-square-foot Live! Casino located 30 miles outside downtown Pittsburgh in Hempfield Township, Westmoreland County, Pa. Cordish will spend $150 million to bring the gaming destination to fruition.
Live! Casino will take shape at the 1.3 million-square-foot Westmoreland Mall development, taking over the space that had been home to a Bon-Ton department store until summer 2018. Upon completion, the gaming facility will feature restaurants, including the newly announced 445-seat Sports & Social Steel City, as well as live entertainment venues. The property’s gaming segment will offer approximately 750 slots and 30 live action table games. “The Pittsburgh gaming market is up 4.3 percent year-to-date through September, driven by revenue improvements in table games,” Brent Pirosch, director of gaming consulting with CBRE’s Global Gaming Group, told Commercial Property Executive. Live! Casino will also provide a Sportsbook, which has proven a popular offering in the state. During the first six months of 2019, Pennsylvania recorded $18.8 million of sports wagering revenue at casinos, according to a report by CBRE.
Cordish has tapped Mascaro Construction Co. to serve as general contractor for Live! Casino. The project will bring 960 direct and indirect construction jobs to the area, in addition to 500 permanent positions upon its completion.
Cultivating casinos in Pennsylvania
The Live! Casino groundbreaking comes nearly two years after Cordish emerged victorious in an auction to develop a Category 4 casino in Westmoreland County. The Gaming Expansion Act of 2017 authorized the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to award up to 10 licenses for Category 4, or satellite, casinos across the state. Other auction winners include Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing Association LLC, which has received approval to begin construction of a satellite casino roughly 50 miles outside Philadelphia in Caernarvon Township, Berks County. Mountainview, a subsidiary of Penn National Gaming, also won the bid to build a project near Harrisburg in Springettsbury Township, York County.
During the first half of 2019, Pennsylvania ranked second only to Nevada for gaming revenue by state, with nearly $1.7 billion in gross revenue. On the metro level, Philadelphia had the seventh-highest gaming revenue in the country, while Pittsburgh took the No. 12 spot, with one particular property accounting for a significant share. “The existing Rivers Casino is the market leader in Pittsburgh, representing more than 45 percent of the total gaming revenue in the market,” Pirosch said. If all goes as planned, Live! Casino will make its debut by the end of 2020.