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Bally's to Build $120M Casino Near Penn State University

Wed January 06, 2021 - Northeast Edition

Bally's Corporation plans to build a $120 million casino, which will include sports-betting facilities, near Penn State University in State College, partnering on the project with former university trustee Ira Lubert.

Bally's announced the project Jan. 4, calling it a Category 4 casino that will feature 30 table games, up to 750 slot machines and retail sports betting. The company said the casino will be located "near the Nittany Mall," located approximately 4 mi. from the Penn State campus.

Construction is scheduled to begin in the first half of 2021 and take one year, the company said in a statement. It will be the first Bally's casino in Pennsylvania. The company owns or manages 11 properties and is in the process of acquiring three more.

"Expanding our rapidly growing, national footprint into the attractive Pennsylvania gaming market represents yet another major milestone for Bally's and a great way to cap off a truly extraordinary year," said George Papanier, president and chief executive officer of Bally's Corporation, in the statement.

"Regional, land-based casinos remain the cornerstone of our portfolio diversification strategy, providing the necessary support for the growth, development and success of our future sports betting and iGaming initiatives. We look forward to combining our own proven track record of greenfield development with Ira Lubert's local knowledge and expertise to bring Bally's first-in-class gaming experience and amenities to customers and sports fans across Pennsylvania."

Lubert, a 1973 Penn State graduate, is a real estate and private-equity investor who has been part of casino developments in Pittsburgh and Valley Forge, Pa. He won the casino bid from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board last year.

He has served as chair of Penn State's Board of Trustees in 2016 and was on the six-person search committee that helped hire Bill O'Brien as the football coach in 2012.

"I am excited to have Bally's as our partner to complement our vision, industry experience and financing capabilities," Lubert said. "Together, I believe we will make this transformative project successful for all stakeholders and look forward to the positive impact the redevelopment will have on the community."

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