Local Leaders Collaborating on Mini Casino Recruitment Efforts

The North Parcel of the Commerce Park contains over 25-acres overlooking Interstate 80, exit 120 in Clearfield County. The shovel-ready site is being showcased to casino operators in effort to attract a mini casino in Lawrence Township. (Provided photo)

CLEARFIELD – The perfect place for one of the new mini casinos may be right here in Clearfield County.

In collaboration, Clearly Ahead Development, Visit Clearfield County and Lawrence Township have been in contact with potential casino owners in an effort to promote the north parcel commercial area of the Commerce Park in Lawrence Township.

This site is located just off Interstate 80 and is clearly visible from the highway. It is estimated that almost 30,000 people pass by this location on I-80 each day.

“The site is extremely conducive to development due to its speed to market infrastructure capabilities in the north parcel, a well-commercialized exit with immediate hotel infrastructure and ease of visitor accessibility from Interstate 80,” said Rob Swales, chief executive officer of Clearly Ahead Development.

Hotels in this area can accommodate 1,600 people, according to Visit Clearfield County. The new businesses will be classified as category 4 gambling establishments or mini casinos that will have as many as 750 slot machines and up to 40 gaming tables. The mini casinos must be at least 25 miles from the current larger casinos.

The licenses are limited and only available to groups currently operating casinos in Pennsylvania. The licenses are being auctioned off on a bi-weekly basis through May of 2018 by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. With eight more licenses available, Clearfield County is vying for the attention of the casino operators to consider the area.

In January the first mini casino was awarded to an operator to locate in York County. The second was awarded for a location in Westmoreland County.

“A mini casino could bring great benefits to the county,” said Clearfield County Commissioner John Sobel.

“In addition to employing up to 300 people, it would be a revenue source for both the county and the municipality where it is located.”

“Each would receive 3 percent of the casino’s revenue, which would bring money into the area and become a great source of relief for taxpayers,” Sobel also expressed.

The additional visitors to the area would likely lead to growth of existing business and attract new businesses, such as restaurants, hotels and services being built in proximity to the site, if awarded.

The Lawrence Township Supervisors are also actively pursuing this opportunity and have issued letters of support to all qualified casino owners.

“Cooperative efforts among Visit Clearfield County and Clearly Ahead Development continue as we reach out to the casino owners using various media formats to connect with the instate operators and corporate headquarters of the PA-based casinos,” Swales explained.

“Many of the operators are aware of Clearfield County’s interest for site considerations and appreciative of the collaborative approach expressed among the local municipal, tourism and economic development entities,” Swales said.

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