Ground Officially Broken on $150m Live! Casino Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania has recently begun changing its outlook towards gaming, with the current perception of this activity being mainly positive amongst legislators and citizens alike. In August, the state officially legalized video gambling terminals (VGTs), in an attempt to deal the decisive blow to the ever-growing illegal gaming industry that has marred Pennsylvania for almost half a century.
As a part of this gaming revolution, more casinos are being built. One of these “venues-to-be” is Live! Casino Pittsburgh, which saw its ground broken on Wednesday. Unlike most other projects around the country, this facility is both an experiment and an attempt to revitalize the community, as Hempfield Township has seen an economic plunge in recent years. With the construction not projected to last more than a year, there is just enough time to reflect on the significance of this venture.
The Right Place and the Right Time
When the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) gave their approval for the construction of Live! Casino Pittsburgh, the state collectively rejoiced. The winning bid belonged to Stadium Casino Westmoreland RE, LLC, a subsidiary of The Cordish Companies, a Baltimore-based real estate giant. The location, Westmoreland Mall, couldn’t be a more fitting location. After the recession of 2008, the entire area saw a rapid decline when it came to the stability of individual businesses. With less spending power, business owners face certain doom amidst the general lack of interest.
This iconic West Pennsylvanian mall saw a plethora of closures in the early 2010s, so revitalization was a hot topic. Due to the rise of gaming and the establishment of the sports betting culture, building a casino was perhaps the most obvious solution to fill the retail gap in Westmoreland Mall. Stadium Casino impressed the PGCB with an outstanding, $40.1 million bid.
The only condition? If the casino was to be built, it had to be within 15 miles of the Derry Township and within the lines of Westmoreland county. Both of these areas are considered to be a part of wider Pittsburgh, so the financial injection was welcomed with open arms by the city’s population.
What’s Upon Us?
Live! Casino Pittsburgh is already considered special, despite the fact that shovel-dirt contact was established only last week. Why, exactly? Well, the operator saw it fit to construct a mini-casino, one that is big enough to revitalize the area, but also small enough not to be considered a risky investment. And by the looks of the current gaming landscape, they won’t be the only one. More and more states are not just legalizing sports betting, but they’re also expanding existing casino laws.
With 30 table games and 750 slot machines, Live! Casino will make perfect use of the somewhat generous limits for Class IV casinos in Pennsylvania. In addition to traditional games, the facility will also encompass Sports & Social Steel City, a two-level hybrid facility that is a sportsbook, a restaurant and a lounge at the same time. As sports, especially baseball and football, are huge in the entire state, it’s no surprise that Live! Casino’s calling card will be appealing to this deeply rooted fandom.
Reed Cordish, the Principal for The Cordish Companies, reiterated this by touching on the subject of sports culture in the state. He also stated that the company’s new project will “breathe life into the area” and have an overall beneficial effect, both economically and in terms of entertainment.
In today’s climate of borderline omnipotent and ubiquitous companies, state legislators are becoming increasingly aware of their own power when it comes to shaping the gaming industry. The construction of Live! Casino Pittsburgh is a direct outcome of this awareness, as the inception of the whole project stems from 2017’s law which saw Pennsylvania auction out ten licenses Class IV casinos, or “satellite casinos”, as industry experts like to call them. So far, only five licenses have been awarded.
Viewing mini-casinos as experiments allow us to see the bigger picture. Both legislators and businesses want a bite of the gaming pie, but nobody wants to funnel all of their money into a gargantuan project. Venues such as Live! Casino Pittsburgh is a perfect experiment while also benefiting the community, making them the perfect fit for modern gaming.